Google beats pharmacy for Type 2 diabetes information

woman monitoring diabetes skin prick test

People are more likely to consult Google for diabetes information than visit a pharmacist, a new NPS MedicineWise survey shows

The survey of Australians living with Type 2 diabetes—released by NPS MedicineWise during National Diabetes Week—has shown while the majority of people are satisfied overall with their level of involvement in decisions regarding management of their diabetes, some would like to be consulted more.

Many feel that they haven’t been fully informed about the range of treatment options or the details of the medicine they have been prescribed, the survey, of 502 Australian respondents aged 18 and over and taking at least one diabetes medicine, found.

It also found out that people are more likely to Google for information than visit a pharmacist.

Survey respondents said that when they are starting on a new medicine, their doctor is most likely to discuss healthy lifestyle and habits that would complement the medicine and help in managing the condition (62%) and the benefits of the medicine (57%) with them.

However, less than half of the respondents (44%) said their doctor discussed how often or for how long they would need to take the new medicine, potential risks or side effects and how they could be managed (43%), other treatment options available (34%) and how they feel about the treatment options and their preferences (28%).

NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr Jeannie Yoo says that “as GPs we are often constrained by time, but asking patients about their beliefs and preferences when considering new treatment options, as well as providing them with details about their medicine such as potential side effects and how these can be managed, is an important factor in improving adherence.

“This is particularly important with medicines for type 2 diabetes, as patients are often asymptomatic and do not feel the immediate benefit of good glycaemic control,” she says.

The survey results indicate that more than one in four Australians with type 2 diabetes (28%) sometimes miss doses of their diabetes medicines, with the majority of patients who take two or more diabetes medicines (87%) missing their doses because they forget to take them or have a change in routine.

Shared decision making

According to the survey, although the majority of people with type 2 diabetes (78%) feel their level of involvement in decisions regarding the management of their condition is about right, 15% say they wish they were consulted more.

Respondents who identified as Gen Y (22%) and Gen X (24%) are more likely than Baby Boomers (12%) and Traditionalists (8%) to say they wish they were consulted more about decisions regarding management of their type 2 diabetes.

“Shared decision making increases patient knowledge and understanding and helps to explore patient preferences within  a consultation. It can also provide patients with a structured way to weigh up their options after the consultation,” says Dr Yoo.

“We know that by involving the patient in decisions, and explaining all the risks and benefits upfront, if they do choose to start a medicine for their condition, then they are more likely to stick with it in the longer term. This is important, with  our survey showing that more than a quarter of people who take a medicine for their type 2 diabetes sometimes missing a dose.”

As part of the new type 2 diabetes educational program, NPS MedicineWise has designed a patient decision aid tool for health professionals (whether GPs, pharmacists, nurses or diabetes educators) and consumers to use when making a joint decision about starting metformin therapy.

Other findings

Survey respondents said that their doctor is the place where they are most likely to go to find information or have their questions answered about their type 2 diabetes medications.

Seventy per cent of respondents said they would go to their doctor for this information, compared to 28% saying they would be most likely to go to their diabetes educator, 27% would go to Google and 25% to a pharmacist.


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1 Comment

  1. Drugby

    The querstion for the pharmacist profession is why don’t consumers see community pharmacy and pharmacists are a source of information, education and support for their chronic disease? Something that really needs to be addressed if community pharmacy wants to be a health destination.

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