Dr. Dorothy L. Smith Interviewed by the American College of Cardiology

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Dr. Dorothy Smith

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Dr. Dorothy L. Smith Interviewed by the American College of Cardiology: Getting to the Heart of Patient Adherence

McLean, Virginia - April 6, 2009 - Dr. Dorothy L. Smith, founder and president of Consumer Health Information Corporation, was recently interviewed on the subject of patient adherence by Dr. Janet S. Wright, senior vice president for science and quality at the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The taped interview can be viewed on ACC's Cardiosource Video Network at http://www.cardiosource.com/cvn/index.asp?videoid=911

Patients need information they can understand

Dr. Smith stated that medication adherence is a serious problem because patients cannot understand the information they are receiving on how to take prescription drugs. They are trying to make wise decisions but often end up deciding to stop taking a drug. For example:

  • 10% of patients decide in their doctor's office NOT to fill a prescription because the physician has not explained how the drug will help them. Of those who DO decide to fill the prescription, 50% do not take the medications correctly because they cannot understand the instructions.
  • 30% - 85% of patients on chronic medications decide not to REFILL their prescriptions because they don't know how to tell if the drug is helping them. Or they may think they are developing a side effect and don't know how to manage it. They stop taking the drug and think they are making a wise decision. This can be very dangerous because some medications must never be stopped suddenly.

These statistics will worsen because the current economic crisis is forcing many patients to take half a dose or stop taking their medications completely.

When patients decide not to take a prescription drug, they will not receive the full benefit of the drug and could be putting their health in danger. Furthermore, physicians sometimes do not know that patients are not taking the medications they have prescribed. Patients usually do not tell their physicians because they are trying to please the physician.

The gap in health care reform - Costs of Patient Medication Errors

Health care reform needs to address the costs and risks to a patient's life when they are not taught how to take their prescription drugs correctly. Dr. Smith stated that, "Everyone in society, including the government, is focusing on the cost of a medication and not its overall value of patients getting the most benefit from the therapy."

If a medication is not taken correctly, health care costs increase significantly. Studies have shown that the direct and indirect costs are twice as much to treat the complications of medication non-adherence as the initial cost to purchase all the prescription drugs in the US. This means that hundreds of billions of dollars could be saved annually if patients received the information and tools they need to manage their prescription drugs safely and wisely.

Dr. Smith summarized, "Many patients cannot understand the patient information they are receiving from their doctors and pharmacists. There is a need to translate medical terminology into language patients can understand. You can improve patient adherence by at least 50% if you do it correctly."

Consumer Health Information Corporation

The mission of Consumer Health Information Corporation is to help patients learn how to manage their diseases and prescribed treatments safely and wisely. The company develops evidence-based patient education programs that bridge the communications gap between patients, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, employers and insurance companies The Company has won major national and international awards for excellence in patient education and consumer information programs.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC)

The American College of Cardiology's mission is to advocate for quality cardiovascular care through education, research promotion, development and application of standards and guidelines, and to influence health care policy. Founded in 1949 by 14 pioneering cardiologists, the ACC today is a thriving, international organization with 36,000 members. ACC's many initiatives in education, science and quality, advocacy and member services are well suited to the vision of the founders.

About Consumer Health Information Corporation

Consumer Health Information Corporation was founded by Dorothy L. Smith, Pharm.D, an internationally recognized clinical pharmacist with expertise in patient adherence and patient education. The mission of Consumer Health Information Corporation is to help patients learn how to manage their diseases and prescribed treatments safely and wisely. The company has developed more than 4000 evidence-based patient education programs for medications, medical devices, disease management and Phase III clinical trials worldwide.  A respected clinical and educational source, Consumer Health Information Corporation has won major national and international awards for excellence in patient and consumer education programs that have significantly increased patient adherence. Dr. Smith is the author of more than 130 professional articles, 23 books and has delivered more than 150 professional and scholarly addresses.

Copyright 2012 Consumer Health Information Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Consumer Health Information Corporation  

Experts in Patient Education and Adherence Since 1983
8300 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1220
McLean, Virginia 22102
703-734-0650
www.consumer-health.com

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