Research: Australia

Australia Rural Communities

Australia Rural Communities

A small remote rural community in the Australian outback was studied to gauge the usefulness of the new Australian version of What should I do? Do I go to the doctor?. The community of Eugowra in rural New South Wales was researched to check its thoughts on whether a self-care minor illness booklet would be of benefit to people who are a long way from medical professionals on a daily basis.

There was a 100 percent recall of interviewees receiving the booklet. As many as 56 percent of the interviewees said they read the booklet thoroughly with the remaining 44 percent saying they glanced through it. No one put it to the side without reading it at all.

Everyone who received the booklet said they kept it for reference and everyone found it useful to some degree with 59 percent saying it was 'very useful'.

As many as 34 percent of those interviewed said that the booklet changed the way they dealt with an illness/problem or the way medical advice was sought.

The booklet encouraged 13 percent of people to treat themselves while 16 percent sought help from their pharmacist instead of the GP.

Almost 20 percent of interviewees said they had referred to the booklet at least twice for advice on an illness or medical program with13 percent saying they had consulted the booklet more than three times.

As many as 38 percent of those interviewed said they had already recommended the booklet to someone else in the community.

Sydney, Australia

A research study involving more than 5,000 people in Sydney, Australia who received the Australian edition of 'What should I do? Do I go to the doctor?' showed that it was regarded as a valuable resource which would be kept for future reference. The study. headed by Dr Susan Whicker (National Program Manager - Quality Use of Medicines for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) and Dr Bolton (Director of Medical Services, Woolongong Hospital) recruited 5,803 patients from Balmain General Practice Casualty in Sydney and the HealthConnect Telephone Triage Services to evaluate an Australian edition of the 'What should I do?' booklet.
Key findings of the study showed the following:

  • 97.7 percent of respondents kept the booklet for future reference.
  • 37.8 percent of respondents said they managed the condition
    themselves as a result of the information in the booklet.
  • 43.5 percent of the Health Connect patients responded in
    the category: Useful for common problems. May avoid a trip to the doctor.

One of the major outcomes of the study suggests that the use of patient self-care information does impact on the decision that individuals make in regard to their health care influencing a move towards self management rather than increasing health care seeking behaviour from existing health services.

Everyone who received the booklet said they kept it for reference

...the use of patient self-care information does impact on health care decisions