Can communities promote better healthcare outcomes?

A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “Effectiveness of a Barber-Based Intervention for Improving Hypertension Control in Black Men” is a great example of the power of communities to promote better healthcare outcomes. In this study, the researchers led by Dr. Ronald G. Victor (Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles) and Dr. Robert Haley (University of … Continue reading

Reminders for patients to take their medications are not enough

The most common opinion of patients who don’t take their medications is they’re forgetful and need reminders. This may be true of some people, but many choose not to take their medication. In a very illuminating study recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “Effects of Benefits and Harms on Older Persons’ Willingness to … Continue reading

Telling patients to get better is easier than listening to what they think

The current (and sadly most used) approach to communications is to push information at us — e.g., TV advertising, PR campaigns, and pharmacy refill reminders. It reminds me of the cartoon (below), which unfortunately epitomizes this approach (my apologies to the cartoonist, as I don’t know where I got it). You can easily imagine the … Continue reading

Report confirms patients helping patients helps

A recent report by Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the internet gives patients and caregivers access not only to information, but also to each other. In particular, 20% adults say they turned to others who have the same health condition. As Susannah Fox, author of the report explains: The internet enables people to help people … Continue reading

Why storytelling improves patient adherence

Because there have been so many views and comments on my recent post “Getting non-adherent patients to listen to and dialogue with adherent patients can improve adherence”, it got me thinking – why? Dr Jay M. Pomerantz (assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School) “Storytelling as a Psychotherapeutic Technique” explains: Many psychotherapists adhere … Continue reading

Getting non-adherent patients to listen to and dialogue with adherent patients can improve adherence

The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published the results of the study “Culturally Appropriate Storytelling to Improve Blood Pressure”. The randomized, controlled trial involved 299 patients who received a series of 3 DVDs (delivered at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months) — “Patients in the intervention group received DVDs that contained patient stories. The comparison group received an … Continue reading

New Study Finds Pharmacists and Nurses are the Most Effective Health Care ‘Voices’ in Promoting Medication Adherence

This headline “New Study Finds Pharmacists and Nurses are the Most Effective Health Care ‘Voices’ in Promoting Medication Adherence” was trumpeted in the recent CVS news release. The researchers concluded: The highest impact programs featured work by pharmacists talking to patients in a store, followed by nurses talking face-to-face with patients who were leaving a … Continue reading

Improving patient adherence saves money

The news headline says it all: CVS Caremark Study Finds Medication Adherence Leads to Lower Health Care Costs, Even After Accounting for Increased Prescription Drug Spending. The study analyzed pharmacy and medical claims data of 135,000 patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia to determine the direct effect of adherence on costs. The … Continue reading

The $290 Billion Dollar Problem

What does $290 billion look like? $290,000,000,000 According to the New England Healthcare Institute, $290,000,000,000 is what it costs annually because of poor adherence.  $290,000,000,000 in extra doctor visits, extra hospital admissions, extra emergency room visits, extra prescriptions … caused by non-adherence.  Incredible! Imagine being able to reduce this number.  Not only would healthcare costs decline, … Continue reading