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So, first of all, the concept of health literacy is very simple, and according to the world health organisation - the more a patient knows about their medicine, the more likely they are to continue taking their prescribed treatment correctly. The benefits to patients who do increase their knowledge of their medicines is well documented by the world health organisation and include:
• Increase in health outcomes
• Increase in quality of life
• Save money by decreasing unnecessary health care related costs
• Increase in medicine compliance
• Increase in patient safety
So, in effect, health literacy is a crucial factor not only in improving your overall health but also saves critical resources for the Health service and ultimately the taxpayer.
what do we… do to help patients increase their health literacy?
So, what we have done is developed a new evidence based health literacy telemedicine system which our patients access once their prescription has been dispensed. We redesigned the prescription journey to incorporate a “new step” into the dispensing of prescription medicines. This new step is carried out at our newly installed - Patient Medicine Consultation Suite.
The service was developed initially to be used as a research tool for a 6-month longitudinal study we carried out in 2014-2015 at the pharmacy on the relationship between increasing a patient’s knowledge of their medicines and any corresponding improvement in the patient’s medicine compliance and health literacy.
Today, the pharmacist-patient consultation continues indefinitely…it doesn’t stop when the patient leaves the pharmacy, the ability to continue the converstaion between the patient and pharmacist is facilitated via our telemedicine system. The results of our study in 2016 showed an increase in our patient’s medicine compliance to 75%, and also the Pharmacist - Patient medicine consultations rose to 100%. And most importantly of all, our new service is evidence based. we have done the studies, we know it works, and our results are being published in an academic journal in the coming months, the Journal of Public Health in the UK.
Your health really is your wealth and you must look after it. We are supporting our patients in self-management of their health. We are the first Pharmacy in Ireland to successfully tackle medicine compliance with an evidence based system, which increases our patients knowledge and understanding of their medicines.
The evidence suggests that by increasing a patients knowledge of their medicines, their medicine compliance also increases. This has a positive impact on improving health outcomes for patients and lowering unnecessary healthcare costs for both the patient and the state. The benefits of our new service include:
• Medicine consultations increases to 100% from 15%
• Medicine adherence increases to 65% from 40%
• Health outcomes increased
• Health Literacy increases
• Cost savings for patients by decreasing unnecessary health related costs
• Lower hospital visits as patients knowledge of their medicines increases
• Cost savings for tax payers as unnecessary health related costs and complications decrease
• Patient safety increases
• Patient quality of life increases
• Supporting patients in self-management of illnesses
• Keeping our customers healthier, for longer
• Empowering customers with personalised health education