Tool Kit Helping Pharmacists Boost Drug Compliance

Article excerpt

Pharmacists who want to play a role in battling the hidden health threat of patient noncompliance can check out a new tool kit from the American Heart Association.

Identifying noncompliance as a weak link in the health-care chain, the AHA has launched a multifaceted Compliance Action Program aimed at patients and health-care providers. The initial phase already under way focuses on educating physicians, pharmacists, and health-care organizations about compliance issues and providing them with tools and information to help patients stay on track with their treatment plans.

The compliance tool kit includes education materials providers can use to teach their patients how to follow treatment regimens and how to live healthier lives. It includes the AHA's primary and secondary prevention guidelines, a compliance poster, a patient pledge form, and a compliance booklet for patients titled Knock Out America's Hidden Health Threat.

The second phase of the campaign will get under way after Jan. 1. It will include a national consumer public relations and advertising campaign focused on educating patients about the benefits of following the doctor's recommendations and providing tips and tools to help patients be compliant.

"The weight of the compliance problem cannot be placed on one group," said Martha Hill, Ph.D., R.N., former AHA president. "It is very important that each audience-physicians, pharmacists, health-care organizations, and patients-share the responsibility By making everyone aware of the compliance problem and providing them with the information and tools they need, we hope to improve people's health and save lives."

Whether they're community- or hospital-based, pharmacists can use the tool kit and hand out free patient materials provided by AHA, said Jim Rybacki, Pharm.D., an AHA medical adviser and president-CEO of The Clearwater Group Inc. and The Medicine Information Institute Inc. in Easton, Md. "Nonadherence and noncompliance are multilevel problems," he said. "It's not just the terrible patient or the bad doctor or the poor pharmacist filling 150 prescriptions a day. It's a problem everybody owns."

The AHA and Rybacki offered the following tips pharmacists can use to help their patients:

Encourage patients to take control of their condition. …