HANDI site ‘more complete’ with new patient resources

Morgan Liotta

4/02/2022 1:44:18 PM

The new resources complement existing resources within HANDI and are aimed at helping GPs provide non-drug intervention-based care.

Female GP with patient
The new patient resources are expected to increase compliance with the non-drug intervention being prescribed.

Earlier this year, Chair of the RACGP’s Handbook of Non-Drug Interventions (HANDI) Professor Paul Glasziou wrote of the benefits of non-drug interventions and the important ‘underutilised’ resource that is HANDI.
In addition to the existing GP resources, the HANDI site now includes a suite of patient resources relevant to each topic, designed for GPs to print out and give to their patients or to refer their patients to.
The patient information steps through the ‘how to’ for patients to do at home, and addresses common questions, presented in a way that is easy for them to understand.
HANDI author Dr David King told newsGP the new patient entries complement the existing GP resources.
‘The HANDI website is more complete now that we have a suite of online resources for both doctors and patients,’ he said.
‘Having patient entries that can be printed off and given to patients is likely to increase compliance with the non-drug intervention being prescribed. It will also save me as a GP some time in educating the patient, as they can read the resource in their own time and repeatedly.
‘Many of the resources contain images that will help the patient know how to undertake the intervention.’
The authors have modelled the new HANDI entries on equivalent resources for prescribing drugs, in the sense that GPs have access to product information online, and patients have the script to take away and simple product information on the medication packet.
Supporting Professor Glasziou in the acknowledgement that non-drug treatments are ‘less intensively researched’, ‘poorly described’ in existing research, and ‘weakly regulated’, Dr King said HANDI is helping to shift that narrative.
‘Non-drug interventions have historically been the “poor cousin” regarding attracting research funding for high-quality clinical trials,’ he said.
‘Despite this, the HANDI project has a sizeable collection of non-drug interventions with high levels of evidence supporting their benefits.
‘The number of entries continues to expand as more research is done in these areas. Greater awareness and usage of the HANDI resource will increase the uptake of interventions that are safe, effective and health promoting.’
With the well-documented associated risks of ‘too much medicine’ and overprescribing in primary care, HANDI aims to bring the safety and efficacy of non-drug intervention further into the spotlight.
Dr King said it can also be beneficial for GPs to continue individual patient assessments to determine what works best in combination.
‘Non-drug interventions are usually safer than medications, and sometimes more effective in the long term, [such as] exercise for osteoarthritis,’ Dr King said.
‘[However], in other conditions management with drug and non-drug treatments are more effective than either one alone, [such as] type 2 diabetes.
‘Instigating a change in lifestyle may be more difficult than taking a medication, so it is important to prioritise non-drug interventions so they are not considered low priority “add ons”.
‘Many non-drug interventions are likely to have broader benefits beyond the condition being treated – for example healthy diet and exercise will have multiple preventive and treatment benefits across a broad range of health indicators and conditions.’
HANDI provides a range of physical and psychological interventions for GPs to select from, which can help in the development of comprehensive management plans.
‘Providing the patient with some authoritative, evidence-based treatment ideas will ideally help them accept the … road to resolution or management of their pain [or condition],’ Dr King said.
The patient resources linked with the accompanying GP resources are listed on the HANDI website, and include guidelines on managing osteoarthritis and back pain, among others.
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