“This Fall’s Hottest Inhaler”
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While doing some research, I came across an article in a popular teen magazine. I was surprised to find a reference in there, since it was a science-y topic that I was researching. I was impressed to see that this magazine was publishing things on health-related matters, it has been a while since I was in the demographic of the magazine audience but do I ever remember begging my parents to buy me magazines at the grocery store checkout. I suspect that most people read these publications online these days.

Can a shiny presentation impact health education?

I was mentioning this article to a friend and they remarked,”Does it showcase, this Fall‘s hottest inhalers?” While the comment was made jokingly and was incredibly comical. It did get me thinking about what if we did an education initiative or promote proper medication use or adherence by using the idea of a flashy spread in a magazine. Could this have an impact on adherence?

I know that I am definitely drawn to shiny and pretty things. I think that it also provides value to being a patient, to see that something good for you can also incorporate good design. It does not have to be the ugly duckling in the room or the most awkward thing to use. Personally, I have used a particular inhaler that was filled with design flaws, in particular, user flaws. How does one use an inhaler when they can’t take a deep breath? I found this frustrating. While it wasn’t a rescue inhaler, it was something that took a very long time to use each morning because I had to clear mucous, have some form of a bronchodilator onboard and then hope for the best that I could take a breath deep enough to activate the actuator to deliver the medication. I was frustrated with the device, that after speaking with my doctor, I may have written a letter to the pharmaceutical company. I never got a response. However, I felt it was really important to voice my opinion that if you can’t take a deep breath to use, you can’t adhere to the regimen.

I have been thinking that having a flashy magazine ad, similar to highlighting the season’s new shoes may make asthma education better and possibly easier. I am sure that we have all seen the terribly dull brochures in the doctor’s waiting room. What if they were filled with good and engaging photography and used more of the voice of the patient? Personally, I have had enough of brochures that show patients running through a field of daisies? Ummm…hello, allergens for some? It would be great if there was more of a celebration of patients doing everyday things! For example, I would like my medication to help with the everyday things climbing stairs, being a badass, or even exhaling.

I hope that those with the powers to make these changes will value patient needs a bit more and give us a bit of sunk!

What would you like to see in a medication device? What would make your life easier?  What would you showcase in a magazine spread? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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