Study: Misconceptions about antibiotics linked to poor health literacy levels in Latino population
NEW YORK — A recent study found that poor heath literacy among Latino parents is associated with incorrect beliefs on the proper use of antibiotics, particularly for upper respiratory infections, which can lead to an increase in antimicrobial resistance.
Conducted in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of upper Manhattan where “bodegas” offer easy access to unregulated antibiotics, the study by researchers at the Columbia University School of Nursing and Department of Pediatrics found that 1-out-of-3 participants had poor health literacy when measured by reading comprehension, and even lower scores when measured by numerical proficiency. In addition, those with inadequate health literacy levels held incorrect beliefs about the use of antibiotics.
Latinos are more likely to take antibiotics without a prescription, previous research has shown, since many have emigrated from countries where it is common to buy antibiotics over the counter without a prescription, according to the study. URIs are caused by viral infections and are not responsive to antibiotics, which are used to treat bacteria-borne illness.
Evidence suggests that Latino parents with limited English proficiency are more likely to have inadequate health literacy. In addition, Latino parents have been shown to be significantly more likely to expect antibiotic treatment for a child in comparison with non-Hispanic white parents, according to the study.
“Injudicious use of antibiotics, including antimicrobial treatment of viral URI in pediatric settings, has contributed to the public health threat of antimicrobial resistance,” wrote the study’s lead author Ann-Margaret Dunn-Navarra of the Columbia University School of Nursing. "Enhanced parent education on appropriate antibiotic treatment is critical if the health disparities in children of minority families are going to be corrected.”
New gel makes toilet paper emulate wet wipes, manufacturer says
CANTON, Mass. — A new product is designed to make toilet paper mimic wet wipes while being easier to flush.
Fresh Dab, introduced by a company of the same name, is a gel applied to toilet paper, which the company said would allow for better removal of residue than toilet paper alone, while also allowing toilet paper to break down as it normally would, unlike wet wipes that can clog sewage and septic systems.
The gel is made from natural ingredients often used to treat and clean skin, such as aloe vera, witch hazel, willow and rooibos.
The gel is available at a list price of $7.99 in 8-oz. bottles, each containing up to 200 dabs.
Walmart commits to health care efficiency program
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has committed $670,000 to help fund a first-of-its-kind program in its home state known as the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative (APII).
The announcement regarding Walmart’s involvement in the cost-containment, outcomes oriented program was made by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe who characterized the initiative as a groundbreaking effort to create a more patient-centered and cost-efficient health payment system. As part of the agreement, Walmart will serve on a newly created APII Employer Advisory Council, fund the development and distribution of information to the public that explains how payments are being restructured and help underwrite an annual statewide tracking report that will evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the project.
"We have worked for the past two years to bring the public and private sectors together in order to provide better health care in more cost-efficient ways," Beebe said. "It’s critical that large, self-insured companies like Walmart be involved in this complex work that has the potential to serve as a model for the rest of the nation. With more than one million people on its health plan, Walmart’s willingness to step forward and lead in this effort shows the company’s continued pursuit of innovation and the initiative’s potential for the future of health care."
The program, currently in its first phase of implementation, is structured to reward physicians, hospitals and other providers for delivering patients high-quality care at an appropriate cost. The long-term goal is to build a new and sustainable system that provides the best possible health care for Arkansas residents through team-based approaches and cost containment.
For example, when primary care providers actively encourage patients to use preventive services, patients can manage chronic diseases and reduce future serious illnesses and costly treatments. And, when people receive appropriate follow-up care after hospitalizations, the likelihood of hospital readmissions can be dramatically reduced, which results in better health and lower costs.
"We are very supportive of this work that will reward doctors, hospitals and other providers who offer great care at an appropriate cost," said Sally Welborn, Walmart’s SVP of benefits. "Governor Beebe is leading a first-of-a-kind payment-reform effort in Arkansas that health experts elsewhere are following closely. We respect the work being done in Arkansas, and we are excited about the opportunity to offer real support to such a meaningful project in our home state."