A Qualitative Evaluation of a Health Literacy Intervention to Improve Medication Adherence for Underserved Pharmacy Patients
To evaluate the implementation of a health literacy intervention to improve medication adherence among patients in an inner-city health system.
Interviews with pharmacists and focus groups with pharmacy patients were conducted one month and six months after beginning the intervention. Patients and pharmacists described their experiences with the intervention, consisting of an automated telephone call reminder system, an illustrated medication schedule, and pharmacist training in clear health communication.
Despite initial technical problems, patients and pharmacists reported positive experiences. Pharmacists thought the intervention made counseling easier. Patients appreciated the design and portability of the illustrated medication schedule and found the reminder calls helpful as well.
Successful health literacy interventions require tools that are easy to comprehend, accessible, and personalized to the special needs and interests of the target population. Moreover, providers must be well-trained, and adequate resources must be provided to assure the fidelity of the intervention's implementation.
Available from: Olayinka O Shiyanbola
- "In health promotion efforts, increasing patient understanding of health information
is essential, especially for members of underserved populations who are likely to
have low health literacy levels.13,14 Members of this vulnerable group include
older adults, individuals who are poor or have low income, immigrant and minority
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ABSTRACT: To understand how underserved populations attend to prescription warning label (PWL) instructions, examine the importance of PWL instructions to participants and describe the challenges associated with interpreting the information on PWLs.
Adults from an underserved population (racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with low income, older adults) who had a history of prescription medication use and were able to understand English took part in semi-structured interviews. Participants were presented with eight different prescription bottles with an attached PWL. Participants were asked, "If this prescription was yours, what information would you need to know about the medicine?" The number of participants who attended to the warning labels was noted. Other questions assessed the importance of PWLs, the challenges with understanding PWLs, and ways a pharmacist could help participant understanding of the PWL.
There were 103 participants. The mean age was 50.25 years (SD=18.05). Majority attended to the PWL. Participants not currently taking medications and who had limited health literacy were likely to overlook the warning labels. Majority rated the warning instructions to be extremely important (n=86, 83.5 %), wanted the pharmacist to help them understand PWLs by counseling them on the information on the label (n=63, 61.2%), and thought the graphics made the label information easy to understand.
PWLs are an important method of communicating medication information, as long as they are easily comprehensible to patients. In addition to placing PWLs on prescription bottles, health care providers need to counsel underserved populations on medication warnings, especially individuals with limited health literacy who are not currently using a prescription medication.
Available from: Karen K Gerlach
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ABSTRACT: Patient education and warnings have emerged as prominent interventions for improving drug safety. As part of the provision of information and guidance on safe use of drugs, patients often receive multiple pieces of written information when they obtain a prescription medication, including a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-mandated medication guide (MG), consumer medication information (CMI), and patient package insert (PPI).
To determine whether patients understand the materials providing drug information and whether the materials convey the intended information.
Fifty-two adults with a high school education or less were shown an actual (blinded) MG, CMI, and PPI for a marketed antidepressant medication. Comprehension was tested with methods used by the FDA to assess label comprehension for nonprescription products.
The majority of participants (88.2%) looked at all 3 pieces of information provided. The mean (SD) time spent reviewing the CMI was 5.2 (4.8) minutes (range 0-21.9), 16.5 (13.3) minutes for the PPI (range 0-43.0), and 2.5 (1.6) minutes for the MG (range 0-7.6). Less than 20% of participants were able to identify the symptoms of a rare but potentially life-threatening situation that can occur with this medication and only 61.5% recalled the risk of teen suicide, which is the sole focus of the MG. Respondents with lower literacy scores performed more poorly than those with higher literacy scores.
Information provided with at least some prescription drugs is not adequately understood by less-educated consumers and does not effectively communicate critical safety messages or directions.
Available from: psh.sagepub.com
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ABSTRACT: Health literacy is an important concept that is increasingly being recognised internationally worldwide as a fundamental skill required in maintaining health and accessing the local healthcare system. Not recognising low health literacy can be serious and costly as Singapore's population ages and chronic disease becomes more prevalent. As there are few local studies available, this clinical review highlights the current known prevalence and problem of health literacy in other countries; the assessment tools available; and some useful lessons we can draw from published interventions. This review may be useful in promoting awareness of health literacy, generating interest in this area among clinicians and inspiring more local work into this emerging field.
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