Is Enough Time Spent on Patient Education?

November 2015, Vol 3, No 11 - Letter from the Editor
Frederique H. Evans, MBS

Patient education is paramount for disease prevention, treatment, and management. Whether it is influenza immunization, prescribing a new medication, or implementing changes in diet, taking the time to explain to patients why they are taking their medication, how to take it, as well as addressing their questions about immunization or nutrition is key to achieving health and wellness goals.

Part of patient education involves being well-informed about the latest drugs on the market. In the November issue of Inside Patient Care, we take an in-depth look at ProAir RespiClick (albuterol sulfate), including information on its use, mechanism of action, dosing and administration, as well as adverse events, drug interactions, and clinical contraindications (see "ProAir RespiClick (Albuterol Sulfate): First Breath-Actuated Inhaler Approved for the Treatment or Prevention of Bronchospasm"). We also provide a patient tip with important considerations for better understanding drug labels on prescription and over-the-counter medications (see "5 Tips to Better Understand Drug Labels"). For additional information about new drugs that have recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, see "Inside Products and Services".

In addition to being knowledgeable about new drugs, healthcare providers need to have a grasp on barriers to care. Continuing our article series on influenza readiness, we feature an original research article by Juan F. Mosley II, PharmD, CPH, AAHIVP, and colleagues on possible barriers to patients receiving the influenza vaccine (see "Patient Barriers to Receiving the Influenza Vaccine"). “Healthcare professionals should always be on the frontline, creating active dialogues and advocating for influenza vaccination,” according to the authors. “This fosters an environment for healthcare professionals to educate individuals regarding the seriousness of the virus, and eliminate any myths or misconceptions.”

We have also included an article on cardiovascular health and the impact of diet on cardiovascular disease (see “Diet and Cardiovascular Disease: Changing the Current Paradigm of Patient Counseling"). Eugenia Gianos, MD, discusses the role of dietary intake in cardiovascular disease risk, dietary guidelines and recommendations, and the importance of providing dietary education and counseling to patients. This article will be of value to pharmacists and other healthcare providers who seek to start the difficult conversation of dietary changes with patients.

Finally, we provide practical information about medication therapy management (MTM), and what it takes to be a successful provider, including facets of training (see “Considerations for Successful Medication Therapy Management Training"). “Pharmacists already know how to perform the patient care included in MTM services,” explained Andrea Brookhart, PharmD. “They need training to reinforce the patient care process, quality documentation, and communication strategies to impact change with patients.” An important aspect of MTM is to discuss with patients why they are taking the drug they have been prescribed.

All these discussions require time, time that in a lot of cases healthcare providers do not have or for which they are not being compensated. However, spending time up front with patients may be beneficial in the long run. The challenge is to get started.

Let us know what you think about this important issue, and share your success stories or barriers to care. We hope you will enjoy reading through this issue and we look forward to hearing from you.

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Last modified: December 11, 2015
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