Focus Group

Dr Nigel Masters MRCGP and Anna Masters BSc Clinical research assistant

The first clinical indications focus group meeting was held on 18 October 2005. The subject area was cardiology drug indications and it was held at Broomwade Sports and Social Club (High Wycombe, Bucks) with members (approximately 20) from the local Brave Hearts cardiac support group. The meeting consisted of an introduction to the clinical indications concept followed by a demonstration of the clinical indications directory. This was followed by a question and answer session and lists of common cardiac drugs were shown on Powerpoint overheads and then the linked clinical indication phrases.

The members were very impressed by the simple idea and the visiting presenters noted the following points:

  1. The expert patient group found that the drug leaflets inside the prescription boxes often caused more patient worry as the drug companies listed so many potential side effects that it was sometimes preferable not to read them!
  2. Some patients have taken to writing the clinical indication on their medication packets so they can remember what it is for!
  3. On amiodarone they preferred the phrase “check blood regularly” not check “bloods” plural.
  4. On aspirin and Simvastatin the group suggested “may” or “will” prevent heart attacks and strokes, rather than “to prevent heart attacks and strokes”. They also felt a warning with aspirin should be added – do not take with warfarin.

In conclusion an expert patient group may be helpful in the discussion of appropriate phrases for the clinical indications directory.