Updated resource for non-drug interventions

Morgan Liotta

13/02/2020 4:01:08 PM

The HANDI site remains a valuable resource for evidence-based non-pharmacological interventions for common conditions in general practice.

Woman talking to doctor
Interventions on the HANDI site align with the most commonly cited presentations in general practice.

The RACGP’s Handbook of Non-Drug Interventions (HANDI) aims to provide GPs with free, up-to-date and evidence-based interventions for patients that don’t rely on prescribing medicine, as well as offering patient resources to assist in their decision making.
Research published in Australian Family Physician (now Australian Journal of General Practice) based on Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) data detailed the 30 most common reasons for general practice presentations.
HANDI Chair and GP, Professor Paul Glasziou, said the ‘the majority’ of the 65 interventions currently available on the site align with the 30 most common presentations GPs encounter every day.
GP and HANDI lead author, Adjunct Associate Professor Dan Ewa​ld from the University of Sydney, told newsGP HANDI is a valuable resource, supported by the RACGP and otherwise ‘free of industry sponsorship or influence’.
‘HANDI takes an independent, hard-nosed look at the evidence and covers a range of topics that are relevant to primary clinical care,’ he said.
‘I like to know what the evidence is for these non-drug interventions, and in HANDI we go to some trouble to provide the evidence and actual details you need to deliver the intervention, or to be specific about what intervention [is being requested] and the allied health referral.’ 
According to Dr Ewald, patients are often happy to have a non-drug option to manage or assist in management of their health condition and appreciate knowing the treatment is evidence-based, rather than just ‘someone’s good idea’.
‘Implementation details are often not included in the literature, or not easy to find,’ he said.
‘HANDI also includes patient resources and decision aids relevant to help patient choices.’
New interventions are developed by a team of clinical experts, based on a collection of possible topics relevant to general practice for which there is existing evidence.
Recent updates and new entries to the HANDI site include:

  • Probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
  • Feed thickener for infant reflux
  • Exercise for acute low back pain
  • Psychological treatments for postnatal depression
  • 10 top tips for weight control
  • Omega 3 in pregnancy
  • Exercise for cancer fatigue
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common conditions HANDI non-drug interventions non-drug therapy


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