Professor Parisa Aslani – Adherence to treatments – a human dilemma

At the April ‘SHED’ talk at the University of Leeds, Professor Parisa Aslani spoke about ‘Adherence to treatments – a human dilemma’. This also could have been called ‘Adherence – between a rock and a hard place’. Her insight as a pharmacist researcher in Sydney Australia is quite unique, as she researches both health information and patient adherence. A novel finding she described was that both low health literacy and high health literacy impact on adherence. For people with low health literacy, information can help them understand how to take medications, contrasting with people who have high health literacy, as the information might help them decide that the medicine is not right for them. So, Professor Aslani suggested that the role of health professionals is not to ’ensure adherence’ but to ‘ensure optimal patient outcomes’, because the latter may mean that there’s an exchange of information between professionals and patients where they agree to differ.

In offering solutions to the ‘adherence dilemma’, she noted that the phenomenon is multi-factorial, different factors affect different people at different times in their journey – so no single strategy will work. What is needed are patient-centred, tailored intervention strategies which are dynamic. One questioner asked about the leaflets that come with medicines and how we can make them better. Professor Theo Raynor, who chaired the session, noted that Parisa has come on board at Luto Research, joining the company’s Academic Advisory Board to help us further improve such medicine leaflets as part of our user testing programme.

Find out more about Readability User Testing and Usability Testing.