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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark's MinuteClinic has entered into an agreement with the National Patient Safety Foundation to become the nation's first retail clinic provider to implement the Ask Me 3 health literacy program.
MinuteClinic will launch the program in early 2011 in its approximately 500 medical clinics located inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in 26 states and the District of Columbia.
Ask Me 3 is a patient education program designed to enhance communication between healthcare providers and patients in order to improve health outcomes. The program encourages patients to ask and understand the answers to three questions: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this?
To promote the program, Ask Me 3 posters will appear at all MinuteClinic locations, and brochures about the program will be offered to patients when they visit. Each clinic will have a certificate designating it an Ask Me 3 participant.
In addition, MinuteClinic practitioners will receive Ask Me 3 training developed by the nonprofit National Patient Safety Foundation.
"Low health literacy is an emerging public health issue that is broad in scope and can affect any patient, regardless of education and reading levels," said Andrew Sussman, MinuteClinic president and CVS Caremark SVP and associate chief medical officer. "Research shows that patients who understand health instructions get well sooner, tend to take their medication regularly and make fewer mistakes with their care. In particular, clear communication helps individuals do a better job of managing chronic health conditions, including those patients we assist with monitoring at MinuteClinic for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and asthma."
Added Paulette Thabault, MinuteClinic chief nurse practitioner officer, "Health literacy is the strongest predictor of an individual's health status. This program will provide another tool for our practitioners to help them encourage and empower patients to take ownership of their own health."