"Complementary therapies work, I know they do."
"How do you know this?"
"My patients get better and they tell me."
Is this enough proof? Should therapies be made more widely available on this basis? If they are powerful enough to make people get better then are they powerful enough to make people ill? Are they safe? Who is using them? And do they really work?
As a commitment to help answer these questions, Get Well UK is working on an ambitious project: to create an audit tool for the complementary health sector. Well, actually the tool has already been created, by Dr Charlotte Paterson and has been extensively researched and used all over the planet, in a number of languages. The tool we are using is the MYMOP - Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile - which is a patient-generated audit tool. This means the patient can decide from their own perspective what to measure as an indication of health improvements and the tool measures change over time. It is a reliable and sensitive tool (in the statistical sense, not in the weeping and emotional sense).
The digital MYMOP system allows you to record this data and get feedback, and detailed reports delivered direct to your email inbox, or you logon to our secure site and see it there. The emailed reports do not have any identity reveal;ing details of course. These reports give you direct feedback about your patients progress and can be used to help define and refine the treatment and careyou offer.
If you run a clinic, or a University Department, or have commissioned a service, you can use this tool to audit the whole service - with data reporting options you can personalise.
Upon your approval, the data will be added anonymously to the Central Data Repository. We are aiming to amass some serious volumes of data so that a clearer picture of who uses complementary therapies, and for what, emerges. We will also be able to tell, in time, which of these therapies are most effective, from a patient's perspective.
At the moment many people collect patient data using MYMOP, sometimes they collect data from a few hundred or perhaps thousand patients. But in the UK, with a population of more than 60 million this is not very many. Especially when we consider this finding from Mintel in 2007; almost half (49%) of the 1,039 people aged 15 and over questioned said they had used complementary medicine and would do so again.
Using digital pen and paper technology we have created a system that allows you to complete your MYMOP forms then have that data wirelessly transmitted to your laptop or PC using Bluetooth® technology. Or you can dock the digital pen directly into your computer through a USB port. You only have to write your notes once, and there is no data entry. The form will appear in our secure online portal for you to verify that your writing has been converted correctly, and then you push the data into the system for analysis and reporting.
MYMOP (Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile) was created by a GP from Somerset, Dr Charlotte Paterson, who wanted to know, from her patients’ point of view, if their health was improving. It is a patient-generated instrument where the patient identifies and grades on a scale from 0 to 6 of their most important symptom (the reason they have been referred for treatment).
There is an option to add further symptoms; this is to be encouraged as it may be part of the patient’s same problem. The patient is also asked to choose a daily living activity which symptoms one and two prevent or interfere with. Patients are also asked to score their wellbeing on the same seven-point scale (which runs from “0” for “as good as it can be” through to “6” for “as bad as it could be”). The lower the number scores the better the patient is feeling about their symptom, activity and wellbeing.
Outcomes can be assessed using the average symptom severity from the entries on the monitoring and initial MYMOP forms and the average symptom severity score from the entries on the MYMOP follow-up forms. These scores can be compared regardless of the symptom described.
Visit www.bloom-systems.com to watch the training videos and learn more about MYMOPs and our project.