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Title: Leaflet-based and Internet-based information about medicines for consumers
Author: Nicolson, Donald John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2673 4387
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis reports four studies that evaluated the usefulness of written medicines information provided as a leaflet, and on the Internet, for improving people's understanding about medicines. Three of the studies used mixed methods. Study one used two methods. A systematic review evaluated 36 randomised trials that examined the effectiveness of leaflet-based medicines information for changing knowledge, attitudes and medicines-taking behaviours. Two sequential workshops enabled stakeholders to input into the review aims, and then give feedback on the findings. The review concluded that leaflet-based information can improve knowledge, but there was no evidence that it can change attitudes or behaviour. Study two analysed ten websites that contained information about medicines and found considerable variation in their quality, content, and design. Study three examined the usability and readability of five sites sampled from Study two. Fifteen participants were randomly allocated to use one site, to locate and explain information about the safety and efficacy of the medicine. Their performance was measured using four concurrent methods: observation, online tracking, thinking aloud, and User Testing. The design of the sites and how their content was written impeded participants' performance on the task. Evidence-based recommendations were derived for improving the sites' design. Study four was a pilot of an intervention for redesigning Internet-based medicines information, including a crossover study design and tools for measuring the outcomes. Thirty participants viewed both the original and revised web pages in a random and counterbalanced order to see if the redesigned web pages containing information about medicines improved participants' ability to locate and understand specific information. The study design and limited redesign of the webpages may not be appropriate for a full RCf. Applying User Testing to the evaluation of websites appears to be original, and using a mixed methods approach has been beneficial to the research. Improvements are needed to leaflet-based and Internet-based medicines information to make it easier to read and understand. This could make written medicines information more useful for medicine users, enabling them to make an informed choice about taking medicines, or be better informed about their safety and efficacy.
Supervisor: Knapp, P. ; Gardner, P. ; Raynor, T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available