* Medication Adherence: WHO Cares?, Marie T. Brown, Jennifer K. Bussell, Mayo Clinic Proc. 2011 April; 86(4): 304-314, PMCID: PMC3068890
The primary goal of the Foundation for Better health is to reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations by providing resources and raising awareness about how to properly manage, prevent, and recognize the symptoms of specific medical conditions that often lead to hospitalization. With regards to management of these medical conditions, proper medication adherence is one of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of preventing complications that can result in hospitalization.
In a study published by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Doctors Marie T. Brown, MD and Jennifer K. Bussell, MD cite a 2003 report by the World Health Organization that states that approximately 50% of patients with chronic illness do not take their medications properly. At the patient level, suboptimal health literacy, and lack of involvement in treatment decision-making were noted as contributing factors for lack of adherence. Despite the personal responsibility involved with maintaining adherence, all of the blame does not rest with the patient. Healthcare providers also have an influence as a result of prescribing complex drug regimens, improperly communicating with patients regarding side effects, or breakdowns of communication with patients that receive care from multiple physicians. Healthcare infrastructure also plays a role considering the limitations on patient access to care, office visitation times, and access to proper resources and technology. For more information or to read the full study, please click on the following link.
In an effort to increase medication adherence, as well possibly reduce the number of medications that patients need to take, the Foundation for Better Health started the Med bag initiative. The goal of the initiative is to encourage patients to take all of their medications to every doctor’s appointment. Ideally, when patients are able to present their full drug regimen in an organized manor, healthcare providers can more accurately assess the pharmacological needs of the patient and at the very least know what they are taking and who prescribed it. With this knowledge, physicians and caregivers can accurately prescribe medications based around what the patient is already taking, or potentially reduce the number of medications needed for treatment. While this will not solve the medication adherence problem alone it is one step towards helping to improve it.
To better facilitate our initiative, we have distributed Tom Green County Partnership for Better Health (this initiative began prior to us changing our name) medication bags to local pharmacies. Simply ask your pharmacist for a TGCPBH medication bag and they should be able to provide you with one free of charge. These bags are perfect for keeping medications organized for easy transport to medical appointments.