There has now been established an unmistakable link between a patient's overall health and the ability to understand and act on medical instructions and health information. Addressing the link between health literacy and health outcomes challenges all of us to engage patients with good, clear information," said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni (Board, 2005)."
Some officials believe the answers are buried in such statistics as the number of patients who make medication mistakes. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that in 2002 nearly 100,000 people nationwide inadvertently took the wrong medication or the wrong dose. Another 20,000 took someone else's medication. And another 21,000 took their medications too close together, or were confused about the amounts or took more than one product containing the same ingredient. And these were just patients who called the center (Riley, 2003)."
As health issues continue to impact society, and medical science continues to raise not only the average lifespan but the standard of living because of the ability to control many diseases that used to mean death the importance of health literacy continues to rise.
It is important to implement a nationwide program that will encourage patients to ask questions, encourage doctors to explain their decisions and encourage pharmacists to counsel every patient that picks up a prescription. Many patients are self-conscious about admitting they don't understand the medication instructions and will not ask, therefore it is important to make counseling a part of every pick up without asking the patient if they want to be counseled.
____(2002) Study: failure to understand prescription drug information contributes to poor health outcomes. (Database Notes).(Health Literacy Initiative)
Health Care Strategic Management
____(2003) Literacy Skills Are Strongest Predictor of Health Status in United States; New Coalition Unveils Action Agenda, Tools to Elevate 'Health Literacy' Among at-Risk Populations. PR Newswire
____(2005) AHIP Board Adopts Health Literacy Program. PR Newswire
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