Washington, DC--Only 10-20% of all health care in the United States is provided in health care institutions. It is clear that more and more health care is taking place in the home with family members and friends as the primary caregivers. As more care is given in the home, health professionals and managed care organizations are realizing that the key to cost-effective therapy is proper use of medications by patients and caregivers.
"More attention must be given to the transfer of power that occurs when a medication is dispensed to a patient or caregiver," said Dorothy L. Smith, Pharm.D., President of Consumer Health Information Corporation, who addressed participants of the 10th Annual Conference on Prescription Medicine Information and Education. The two-day conference was sponsored by the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE).
"Patients and caregivers are making critical day-to-day decisions regarding the patient's prescription regimen. But the fact is that up to 20% of all initial prescriptions written by physicians are never filled by patients, and of those that are filled, 50% are taken incorrectly. Furthermore, 30% of all refill prescriptions are never refilled," noted Smith.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) estimates that the 25 million caregivers in the U.S. are spending an average of 18 hours a day providing care. Among the 22% of family caregivers who are forced to quit their jobs so that they can provide care, each is losing approximately $29,400 of annual income.
In order to encourage medication compliance, doctors and pharmacists must get more involved in the prescription therapy process and in providing effective patient information programs and patient counseling. The development of patient education programs requires expertise in both art and medicine in order to be effective. "While the cost to provide individualized patient/caregiver education can be high, the significant savings due to improved medication compliance are far greater."
Patient education services can have a significant impact on improving prescription medication compliance and treatment outcomes. "It makes no sense to continue paying for medical complications resulting from patient/caregiver mismanagement of medications when they can be prevented with patient education programs," said Dr. Smith.
Throughout her presentation, Dr. Smith made it clear that consumers, patients and caregivers need to be active in controlling their own health. "Staying well is not a passive process. Individuals need to actively seek information and ask appropriate questions so that they can make better decisions regarding drug therapy and their own health care," concluded Dr. Smith.
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.
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