A paper by Michael Holden in this issue introduces the concept of the ‘Healthy Living Pharmacy’. This UK movement aims to put pharmacies at the heart of community efforts to tackle preventable illnesses linked to lifestyle. Trained and accredited Health Champions in these establishments focus on preventative health issues in their communities, broadening the role of the pharmacy beyond that of the traditional supply of medicines, and provision of related advice.
As pressure on healthcare systems grows with an ageing population increasingly liable to diseases linked to poor lifestyle choices, pharmacies are an underused source of expertise and advice for the communities that they serve. The majority of people who visit pharmacies do not access other healthcare resources routinely, in many cases because they do not consider themselves unwell. This means that pharmacies could function as the primary means of bringing important preventative health messages to people who are currently ‘healthy’ but making lifestyle decisions that make future illness almost inevitable.
Also in this issue Bill Soller examines the functionality of drug labelling in the light of user experience. Relatively simple tests of user experience in using a drug label may be implemented to improve its functionality, e.g. in communicating important messages relating to intended action in response to symptoms and signs of an emergent adverse drug event. In the US this may have particular relevance to important consumer safety messages in prescription drug labels and OTC drug labels for medicines approved under the monograph system, which may never have had user testing of their label.
These articles illustrate the breadth of issues that are relevant to people managing their own health either within or outside of formal healthcare systems. SelfCare serves as a forum for discussion on matters relating to self-care and we welcome letters to the Editor relating to what we publish or to concerns that should be a focus of attention for those interested in self-care in all its guises.