MenoPROMPT: a co-designed, comprehensive, evidence-based program to improve the care of women at and after menopause

This work is supported by an NHMRC Partnership Project Grant (2015514) led by Professor Susan Davis, Monash University, in collaboration with researchers from Melbourne University led by Associate Professor Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis and in Partnership with RACGO, Jean Hailes and the Australasian Menopause Society.

Synopsis

Although the menopause is a normal biological event, the associated symptoms are frequently debilitating. Over 75% of Australian women experience hot flushes and night sweats which are associated with low wellbeing, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and impaired work ability. Despite readily available, safe hormonal and non- hormonal therapy, over 85% of women with bothersome symptoms are not receiving evidenced-based care. While first line management of menopause should be in primary care, menopause is not in the top 15 conditions most frequently managed by general practitioners (GPs).

Our research has shown

  1. Australian GPs and specialists lack skills and confidence in managing menopause, and often recommend unproven and ineffective complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) before prescribing menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) or effective non-hormonal therapy and,
  2. Australian women rely on self-help and CAMs to manage menopausal symptoms, as they view MHT negatively, with concerns about cancer risk.

This situation has arisen from over two decades of widespread conflicting, and often frightening, information about menopause treatment to health care providers and the community, combined with omission of menopause from many undergraduate and postgraduate training programs.

In this translational project we will develop a simple assessment and decision-making tool, targeting menopause, integrated into health practitioner software so that key information is immediately accessible, together with a program of menopause and midlife health practitioner education.

In parallel we will develop a pre-consultation women’s health self-assessment tool, delivered by SMS, to empower women to report their symptoms and to ensure menopausal symptoms are not overlooked. We will integrate women’s self-reports directly into their electronic records.

This work addresses unmet needs identified by women and health care providers and aligns with the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030.

Media summary

Menopausal symptoms are frequently debilitating. Despite readily available, safe therapy, most severely symptomatic women are not receiving evidenced-based therapy. We will develop a simple menopause assessment and decision-making tool, that will be integrated into general practitioner (GP) software, so that key information is immediately accessible to GPs, together with a pre-consultation women’s health self-assessment tool, delivered by SMS, to ensure menopausal symptoms are not overlooked.