Better Use programme
The MEB launched its Better Use programme in 2017. The programme is part of the MEB’s strategic ambition to promote the better use of medicines. Improving the information that is disseminated to healthcare providers (prescribers and pharmacists, in particular) is a central aspect of this strategy.
For every medicine, the MEB prepares a Summary of Product Characteristics(SmPC) and a patient information leaflet. These documents provide reliable, impartial information regarding that particular medicine. Research conducted by NIVEL has revealed that 89% of Dutch users of medicines consult and have confidence in the SmPC and the patient information leaflet, but that not everyone understands the information provided in them. One area for potential improvement is therefore improving the clarity and comprehensibility of the official patient information leaflet. A clearer link between the information provided on medicines and the field of healthcare would also improve information provision.
In the years to come, the MEB will therefore focus on making clear, comprehensible information available regarding the better use of medicines to all Dutch people. For instance, the MEB wishes to ensure that those with limited knowledge of health matters or those who have difficulty reading can also understand this information. The MEB also strives to improve interoperability by making the information that is currently only accessible through the Medicines Information Bank, available for integration with systems used by healthcare providers and patients.
Priorities of the Better Use programme
The programme will focus on two priorities: improved information for patients, and improved access to product information.
Improved information for patients
Every patient’s information needs are different. Some prefer a lengthy text that provides a lot of detail. Others prefer a short text including pictures and icons, or audiovisual information only. The MEB is currently working on improving official patient information leaflet to make them more comprehensible, as well as making audiovisual information available. The MEB is also considering whether the patient information leaflet can be made more concise and accessible.
The long-term ambition is to enable care providers to select the information from the patient information leaflets that is relevant to a particular patient, and on this basis to provide information that is better tailored to him or her.
Improved access to product information
The MEB publishes information about medicines, such as the Summary of Product Characteristics and the patient information leaflet. Various other parties involved in the field of healthcare also make use of this information. These include both government bodies and professional organisations. The MEB is currently working on improving access to this information, so that both patients and healthcare providers can search for, find, consult and use information about medicines.
The ambition is to provide fully digitised product information.