New Resources Aim to Improve How We Discuss Medicine with Patients

September 16, 2018 · Matt Brock

It’s an exciting time for us when it comes to helping our friends develop quality improvement projects. This time, we’re helping improve how we track and discuss medicines with patients.

It’s an education initiative all about better communication with patients to encourage them to follow doctors’ orders.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), with financial, scientific, and educational support from Merck, developed a suite of resources, downloadable and free, to assist doctors and other clinicians who want to improve medication adherence with better communication and patient education.

Why We Need to Communicate Better

According to a 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, nonadherence related expenses are estimated to be $100 to $300 billion per year in medical costs.

The reasons patients give for why they may be not taking their medications are broad-ranging and multifaceted. They include patients not understanding the benefits of medication, forgetfulness, believing medications were not working or no longer needed.

Medication Education Resources for Your Team

The research-based tools identify processes that, when implemented, may help improve how clinical practices identify and address medication non-adherence. The aim is to provide patient-focused tools to foster communication about medications, what they are for, and how to take them properly. The resources provide practical tips to assist providers who want to improve how they talk to patients about their medicines. It includes and a checklist for patients, too.

The suite of resources includes:

  • Patient Education Medication Initiative, an interactive deck designed for doctors, clinicians and practice managers. It explains all the reasons why a medication education quality improvement project may be helpful.
  • How to Implement the Patient Medication Education Initiative, an interactive deck with recommendations and practical tips for how to set up a medication quality improvement program.
  • Patient Medicine Education Guide (for the patient), a template checklist of recommended topics for the provider to discuss with their patients. There is room for the provider to take notes for follow-up.
  • Patient Medicine Education Guide (for the provider), a template checklist of topics providers should discuss with patients during follow-up calls after the initial appointment and prescription. This is a patient-focused tool to foster communication about medications, what they are for, and how to take them properly.
  • Discussion Guide for Patient Follow-Up Call, a sample discussion guide to assist practices and providers with topics that may arise during follow-up calls. It helps the practice assess whether a patient filled the new prescription and is following the regimen as directed by their clinician.

We hope you will download the materials and use them as the foundation for your team’s quality improvement project. We’re sure there’s something here for large teams and small. And please, let us know how they help.


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