I’ve just be reading through an interesting 2006 study by Maniaci et al. on “Functional Health Literacy and Understanding of Medications at Discharge” which reports on the lack of knowledge that 172 patients had about the new medications they were prescribed on discharge from an internal medicine residency service at a community-based teaching hospital.
According to the study:
> 36% of patients did not know the name of the medication they were given
> 36% of patients did not know what the new medication was supposed to do
> 44% did not know the proper dosage instructions for the new medication
The study involved a follow up telephone call (between 4 and 18 days after discharge) which asked about the name, number, dosages, schedule, purpose, and adverse effects of the new medication(s) and whether they could name their medical contact person.
Of the survey respondents:
> 1 in 7 did not know they’d been prescribed new medications
> 36% couldn’t identify the name of the medication(s) they were given
> 44% didn’t know the dosages they were to prescribed
> 32% didn’t know the schedule they were prescribed
> 1 in 3 did not know the purpose of the new medication
> 9 out of 10 don’t recall being told of anny adverse effects
This is one of the key reasons that I’m confused when I hear wireless health evangelists explaining how 24/7 monitoring of patients with body area network sensors is going to reduce costs and prevent unneccessary admissions to hospitals. There is so much we can already do by just improving access to information and many of these simple low cost initiatives don’t require anything new – just better access to information:
If you still can’t appreciate why you need to get with mHealth why not ponder for a moment the opportunity that the patients mobile gives you… it is after all the only connected device that they take home from your care. If I were a drug company I’d get started by writing on every box:
“Got a Video Mobile? For free information on this medication please text your prescription dosage and schedule medication to 50001 and we’ll send you a helpful Video Message giving you useful info on this medication”
Imagine if every patient taking a medication was armed with a video message that detailed the information they need?