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Failure to understand prescriptions has a cost

Nurse administering prescription to patient.
Take advantage of integrated technologies to help patients understand their prescription medications

When it comes to their best recovery, patients need a complete understanding of their prescriptions and medications during hospitalization. It’s also important when preparing them for discharge so they adhere to treatment at home. It’s not uncommon for patients to misunderstand the dosing and timing of their medications.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Seventy-five percent of Americans have trouble taking their medicine as directed. This lack of adherence is costing many people their good health and the healthcare system billions of dollars. Estimates are that approximately 125,000 deaths per year in the United States are due to medication non-adherence and that 33% to 69% of medication-related hospital admissions are due to poor adherence. The total cost estimates for medication non-adherence range from $100 billion to $300 billion every year, when both direct and indirect costs are included.”1

The consequences of a patient not understanding how or when to take their medications include:

  • Unnecessary readmissions, or visits to the emergency room
  • Increased costs for the healthcare facility in terms of labor, resources and supplies
  • Loss of reimbursements and higher penalties

Recommendations for prescription support

It’s possible to reduce mortality rates and the number of readmissions caused by medication non-adherence. With a structured approach to prescription review and patient education, Care Teams have the opportunity to reinforce the importance of prescription compliance.

Opportunities

There are a number of unique ways to help patients understand their prescriptions, and why they’re taking them. Including Pharmacists and Pharmacologists as part of a patient’s Care Team may increase a patient’s commitment to a medication regimen, since they can help with tailored guidance. That guidance can include focused pharmacy counseling or motivational interviewing. Additional methods to increase compliance include services like personalized pill boxes and custom medication cards or calendars2. Enhanced follow-up using text and phone surveys may be effective as well.

Pharmacy prescription bottles and tablets.

Most importantly, using telemedicine is a great opportunity to check in with patients about their prescriptions during a regularly scheduled call. Since the pandemic, it’s fair to say that most patients are more likely to ask questions about their prescriptions, so take advantage of that and establish prescription reviews. Finally, while patients are still under hospital care, digital education content is another step to better understanding.

HCI external telehealth on interactive touchscreen desktop tablet.

Patient prescription education

HCI BedMate TV with patient education content.
Healthwise© Medication Education Video

While digital learning is a familiar form of getting information, printed materials are expensive, and are often lost or forgotten at discharge. To help patients understand their prescriptions and their condition, HCI offers a large library of patient education. Relevant content, delivered through MediaCare as short videos, comes from your existing education library or our award-winning producers. You can assign educational content at Admittance and throughout the stay. When content is pushed to a patient’s TV or digital whiteboard, then caregivers can follow-up with questions and teach-back techniques. With that in mind, you can deliver comprehension surveys automatically to help measure how well a patient understands their prescription.

HCI discharge survey on BedMate hospital TV.
Medication Survey Example

Prescription fulfillment

MediaCare offers patients the option for automated prescription fulfillment. That’s another step toward treatment compliance.

Prescription refill offered through HCI MediaCare.
Push reminder for pre-discharge prescription fulfillment on patient TV

HCI offers an option for patients to search for and learn about their medications through the Rx App. Running on the patient’s Interactive Whiteboard and in-room TV, they can:

  • Read a full description of their medicines, including side effects and warnings
  • View images and pictures of the medicines they’ve been prescribed
  • Match their medications with the hospital database images as another step to avoid errors
HCI Medication Search app on BedMate hospital bedside TV.
Medication search on patient TV

Conclusion

When considering a a digital education library, it helps to factor in the cost savings from not needing printed brochures. Moreover, you can reduce costs for ink, toner and copier cartridges. Not to mention time savings by reducing the burden on purchasing departments to negotiate printer and maintenance contracts. Finally, storing all of that copier supply material takes up valuable space and takes time to organize.

Consider MediaCare to support your patient adherence goals. You can reduce readmissions and increase reimbursements while helping patients be their healthiest selves, even after they leave care.

1 Benjamin, Regina M. “Medication adherence: helping patients take their medicines as directed.” Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974) vol. 127,1 (2012): 2-3. doi:10.1177/003335491212700102

2 https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/pubs/medication-adherence.htm