WASHINGTON — A group of organizations has launched a nationwide competitive outreach project to enlist students studying to become healthcare professionals to find new ways to raise awareness about medication adherence as a public health issue.
Wednesday marked the launch of the second annual Medication Adherence Team Challenge, which will last for a month, coordinated by the National Consumers League and sponsored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the American Medical Association. The NCL is also the lead organization on the national Script Your Future campaign, for which the NCL and other partners have committed to a three-year program to promote medication adherence. It is estimated that three-quarters of Americans don't take their medications as directed, resulting in serious health consequences, according to the NCL.
"The success of the first Script Your Future Adherence Challenge in October 2011 demonstrated the power of student pharmacists to reach out to their communities and engage patients and caregivers to improve health through better adherence," AACP EVP and CEO Lucinda Maine said. "This year's challenge will emphasize the interprofessional healthcare team and what each member of that team needs to do to move the needle on medication adherence."
This year's challenge will take place through February and engage interdisciplinary teams from pharmacy, medicine, nursing and other health professionals to address the problem of poor adherence.
"Innovative medication adherence initiatives, such as the challenge, ultimately help raise patient awareness of the importance of taking medication as prescribed," NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger said. "This kind of initiative can help prevent potential adverse events and unnecessary hospitalizations and ultimately improve health outcomes."
In October 2011, more than 40,000 student pharmacists educated more than 250,000 individuals nationwide that month to raise public awareness of the importance of adherence.
"Greater medication adherence improves patients' well-being and ultimately helps to drive down the costs of health care," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "Independent community pharmacists are committed to proactively identifying solutions to improve patient adherence in their communities, and the challenge is a terrific way to raise awareness among the next generation of pharmacists."