Source: Asbury Park Press
Those pages of medical warnings in tiny type that came with your medication and you tossed in the trash? You can leave it in the garbage. Pharmacies are starting to tap into new technology to better help their patients understand their medicine.
Since January, the pharmacy at Ocean Medical Center in Brick has been placing QR codes on prescriptions that, once scanned with smart phones and tablets, direct patients to videos about their prescriptions.
Those videos are specific not only to the patients’ medication, but their dosage and instructions on how many times per day they should take it, said Robert Schenk, manager of Meridian Ambulatory Pharmacy Services. The system also was recently rolled out at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, another Meridian hospital.
Schenk said the videos augment what pharmacists have done for years to explain medications to patients.
The hospital pharmacies, however, dispense medicine to patients who have been discharged and are heading home. In some cases, patients may be taking home multiple medications, some of which may be new to them, Schenk said.
Depending on the number of prescriptions, patients could potentially be going home with dozens of pages of information. The QR codes link to videos that help remind them what each medication does and how it should be taken.
“That video reminds them of the benefits,” Schenk said. “It’s also a reinforcement mechanism. An educated patient is going to be more likely to be a compliant patient.”
Ocean Medical Center was the first hospital in New Jersey to use the technology from Florida-based VUCA Health. The technology is now in 35 states and a few hundred hospitals and independent pharmacies, VUCA chief executive officer David Medvedeff said.
The company was founded by a team of pharmacists who had previously worked together in a drug information publishing business. The team decided to pursue the videos to give patients a more plain language understanding of their medication, Medvedeff said.
“You may read (the drug pamphlets). It may be a little over your head. More times than not, it ends up being thrown away,” he said.
The videos also allow patients to link to more information on their medication if they have additional questions.