Category: Medicine Safety

Health Literacy and Continuing Your Health Education

Since 1999, October is Health Literacy Month.  This week is also National Health Education Week.  Health literacy is defined as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Being able to disseminate health information allows people to navigate the healthcare system, keep track of their medical history, competently engage in self-care, and understand probability of health risks.

Health literacy is the main form of defense against misinformation prevalent in our society. Knowledge of the facts is key to combat the influence of those who would fly in the face of medical and scientific studies on subjects such as vaccinations or family planning services.  Dangerous pseudoscience can be avoided, saving individuals money and suffering at the hands of those who either don’t know or don’t care.  Despite this, only 12% of adults have “Proficient” health literacy according to the National

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The Importance of Medication Adherence, and How to Ensure Compliance

We have had various blog posts about the importance of medication adherence. The subject remains important as researchers find 20-30% of prescriptions are never filled and half of all people do not follow their drug instructions.  With a wide variety of factors contributing to patients not following through a treatment as directed, it can have a serious impact on one’s health and finances.

People have many reasons for medication non-adherence. Confusion can be a factor, whether in relation to multiple prescriptions or unclear doctor’s orders.  Other patients don’t take medicine to avoid side effects. Cost is an obvious factor for those unable to afford their prescriptions. Not following drug regimens can result in needless hospitalizations and emergency room visits, which can cost much more than the skipped medication. Research shows as much as $289 billion is spent on avoidable hospital trips annually for people who don’t follow their prescription regimens. It is estimated that as many people die from medication non-adherence as from strokes each year.

Some organizations have devised

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Medication Safety at Home

We hear in the media of mistakes made in hospitals including errors in administering medication. A new study shows that a child is improperly medicated at home every eight minutes. The study published by the journal Pediatrics is based on data from the National Poison Database System between the years of 2002 and 2012. The statistics don’t reflect the real scope of the problem since not everyone reports an error to poison control or may even be aware they made a mistake.

In the 10-year time period, 696,937 children younger than 6 years old experienced out-of-hospital medication errors. The most common error was double-dosing, or inadvertently giving a child the same medicine twice. The data also suggests that errors are more likely to occur with younger children, in part because older children can tell someone they’ve already taken their dose. Other common mistakes are caused by confusion with units of measure or administering the wrong medicine. Over 93% of medication errors could be managed without going to a healthcare facility. Unfortunately, 25 children died from out-of-hospital medication errors, a majority of which

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How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones Online

Rogue Internet drug sellers are widespread and the problem is growing.  The criminals that operate these illegal websites make millions of dollars each month peddling counterfeit and otherwise illegitimate medicine to unsuspecting patients. As a result, patients are just a click away from dangerous or even deadly consequences.

As the holiday season draws near, beware of what you buy online. “Too good to be true” prices and claims of legitimacy are usually ploys to lure you to buy. And when you do, you give your personal and financial information (credit cards, home address, etc.) to criminals, and put your health in their hands.

A Real Patient’s Story

According to the Partnership for Safe Medicines, Rachael Jablo, a San Francisco resident, reported her doctor at the University of California-San Francisco suggested she visit an online “Canadian pharmacy” to save money on an antibiotic that costs $1,000 for a two week cycle. Rachael represents just one patient who was misled. This particular online rogue drug seller was not a licensed pharmacy and it was operating from Canada.  It shipped medications

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.