Providing Patient Education Programs Based on Sound Patient Adherence Strategies Vol. 8 No. 2
Health Literacy is Only Part of the Equation
Health literacy took center stage on the national platform in 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, the Plain Writing Act of 2010, and Healthy People 2020 were major landmarks in legislation for health literacy. The government has recognized that healthcare in this country cannot be reformed without health literate patients.
For patients to be health literate, however, they need to be provided with quality medical information. Unfortunately, many patients are receiving poor information from reputable health websites that they cannot understand. Here are some examples:
Poor Description of Drug Interaction“In a review of 16 patients on previously stable warfarin regimens who also had documented INRs during coadministration of TMP/SMX and warfarin, 69% of the patients had supratherapeutic international normalized ratios (INRs), with a mean change in INR of 1.76.”
Poor Explanation of How a Drug Works “ACE inhibitors work best when body fluids are balanced – when fluid is being retained, they are not as effective, when bodily fluid stores are low, ACE inhibitors are more likely to have side effects.”
Poor Definition of a Medical Condition “In the other forms of parkinsonism, either the cause is known or suspected, or the disorder occurs as a secondary effect of another primary neurological disorder that may have both primary and secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”
Health literacy is only part of the equation. Even if these examples were written at the grade 6-8 reading level, patients might still not understand them. Your message will only be effective if care is taken to ensure that the readability as well as comprehension needs of patients are met.
HEALTH PLANS:Health Literacy Saves You Money
Health literacy is a hot topic these days and many health plans are already moving towards improved health literacy.
- Humana has launched the Wellness Information Zone Initiative, a national effort to provide basic health information in plain language to patients.Aetna has the Plan Your Health campaign to help patients make more informed health care decisions.
- America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has partnered with Health Literacy Innovations to develop health literacy software that will streamline the review process for education materials.
Is your health plan doing all it can to improve health literacy for your members? If not, your health plan is losing money. Studies show a strong correlation between low health literacy and poor health outcomes. In 1998, researchers found that low health literacy results in $73 billion in medical costs annually. Imagine what the cost would be today!
When patients are given high quality patient information, home medication errors have fallen by 50%. Patients have fewer side effects, doctor visits, and hospital admissions.If your health plan is not already working on improving health literacy for your members by providing them with easy-to-understand and accurate health information, now is the time to start.
59% of Adults Look for Health Information Online
It is no surprise that 8 out of 10 Americans get their health information online. With the increasing popularity of smartphones like the Blackberry and iPhone, these tech devices connect the patient to health information in the palm of their hand…literally. This makes looking for health information the third most popular activity behind email and using a search engine. The chart below describes what type of health information patients are looking for when they search online.
*References available upon request
In This Issue
Health Literacy is Only Part of the Equation Health Plans: Health Literacy Saves You Money 59% of Adults Look for Health Information Online
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PATIENTS are saying
“I don’t think I could get along without the booklet-I refer to it almost every day, and often read entire sections over again and again. It not only is so informational but it is also a great motivator for me.
I attribute much of my success to following the information and guidelines found in the booklet. You don’t realize what a turnaround it has made in my life.”
“I am a 72-year old male with type II diabetes and under a doctor’s care. I have found this book to be the best book I have seen on the subject.”
CLIENTS are saying
“When I need a company to develop materials that will be used by patients, my first thought, without any hesitation, is Consumer Health Information Corporation.”
“Everyone that I have spoken to has felt that these pieces are among the finest industry-produced diabetes patient education publications in circulation today.”
“We consider you a very important partner as we work to improve our patient’s understanding of the role of medication in their prescribed therapies.”
“This pamphlet is brilliant…it is the most caring patient information piece I have ever seen.”
Increase Your ROI 50% With over 25 years of experience in health literacy and patient education advocacy, Consumer Health Information Corporation can help you do just that.
We are the industry leader in proven patient adherence strategies, health literacy, patient information and patient education program development for prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) products and medical devices.
Our programs have increased product ROI by more than 50%.Dorothy L. Smith, PharmD President and CEO Consumer Health Information Corporation
Patient Adherence ALERT is published quarterly by Consumer Health Information Corporation Consumer Health Information Corporation is affiliated with over 40 schools of pharmacy and is a drug information teaching site. Appreciation is expressed to Choua Vang, PharmD 2011, Shenandoah University, Alexi Kanago, PharmD 2011, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Shelley Calvert, PharmD 2011, West Virginia University for their contributions to this newsletter.
Consumer Health Information Corporation 703-734-0650 www.consumer-health.com Copyright 2011 Consumer Health Information Corporation. All rights reserved.
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