Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Rational use of medicines
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Close this folder4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
View the document4.1 Principles
View the document4.2 What is already available?
View the document4.3 Information on drug utilisation helps you choose topics
View the document4.4 Defining and refining the aims of the bulletin
View the document4.5 Who are the readers?
View the document4.6 What type of information is needed?
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
Open this folder and view contents7. The editorial process
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Open this folder and view contents9. Design and production
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Open this folder and view contents12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information

4.6 What type of information is needed?

Just as the aim of the bulletin should influence who reads it, the readers should influence the content of the bulletin. A bulletin containing articles on highly specialised hospital treatments is unlikely to attract someone working in a community dispensary. As most bulletins aim to improve prescribing, prescribers are usually a key audience. Most prescribing is done in the community, so family doctors (general practitioners) are often an important target for drug bulletins. The content of the bulletin should therefore focus on the diseases and health problems managed in that community. Often this will require articles on the best use of standard drugs rather than detailed reviews of expensive new products with limited indications.

The best way to find out what your readers want is to ask them. There are several ways to do this:

• An existing bulletin can carefully consider readers’ letters (for example, la revue Prescrire receives around 2000 letters per year, which are an important source of information on readers’ needs), or it can survey some or all of the people on its mailing list.

• It can also be useful to survey some people in your target audience who are not on the mailing list. There may be some simple reason why they are not receiving the bulletin, and if you can correct this problem you may gain more readers.

• If you are in the first stage of planning a bulletin (see also Chapters 5 and 6) you should consider surveying members of the target audience you have identified.

Readership surveys can be simple or complex. How extensive they are depends on the budget available - and on your appetite for information. You may be able to send people a questionnaire by post or attached to the bulletin. Another approach is to invite people to focus groups. A focus group is a small, informal discussion group, usually of between six and 10 people, organized around the discussion of a few open-ended questions. They are often used in market research to discuss ideas for new products. Focus groups can be held in connection with another meeting, for example a conference, to reduce the costs. It can also be useful to talk - and listen - to opinion leaders and other key people.

You will want to ask questions that identify the information readers would consider useful for their work. For example, which conditions do they find difficult to manage, which treatments are they uncomfortable about prescribing, dispensing or explaining to patients? You may also want to elicit their views on how the information would be best presented. Do they prefer a frequent one-page newsletter or a larger journal less often? Chapter 12 provides practical advice on how to develop reader surveys and other methods of feedback and evaluation.


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