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Future pharmacists up to Rx adherence challenge
May 14th, 2014
WASHINGTON – The National Consumers League (NCL) and its partners have announced the winners of the third annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge for pharmacy and other health profession students.
NCL said Tuesday that the monthlong competition engaged students and faculty across health care disciplines in developing creative ideas for raising awareness about medication adherence. This year's winners were the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Touro University California College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy and University of Wisconsin Madison School of Pharmacy.
The 2014 Medication Adherence Team Challenge is part of the national Script Your Future public awareness campaign coordinated by NCL. The campaign includes more than 135 public and private stakeholder organizations, including the following sponsors: the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
"This was the second year we challenged students to work in collaborative teams of future health professionals who interact with patients — the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and others," NCL executive director Sally Greenberg said in a statement. "This more comprehensive approach will ultimately result in patients hearing from multiple voices encouraging them to take their medication as directed."
Student teams from pharmacy, medicine, nursing and other health professions worked side by side on campuses and in local communities using innovative solutions to reach thousands of consumers to raise awareness using Script Your Future materials. This year, students also submitted entries in the categories of "Health Disparities Outreach" and "Creative Interprofessional Team Event." Also new this year, coordinators established the award "Effective Communication and Media Outreach."
"The involvement of students and faculty in the effort to boost medication adherence is incredibly important," stated NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger. "The Medication Adherence Team Challenge establishes this issue as a top priority for the next generation of health professionals and inspires them to advance this goal within their own communities. The winners are showing the tremendous power that health care professionals can have on advancing patient care through medication adherence. We hope that is a lesson they will carry with them throughout their careers and that will inspire others to do the same."
More than 2,200 future health care professionals held 300 events in 26 states and the District of Columbia, counseling more than 9,300 patients and reaching more than 6 million consumers nationwide.
"Pharmacists have a unique opportunity, at the medication dispensing stage, to help patients understand the value of their prescription medications, to help alleviate confusion and to underline the need for adherence, making a real difference in patients' lives. We are excited to be involved in this program and what it means for the future of America's adherence," commented Thomas Menighan, executive vice president and chief executive officer of APhA.
"The Medication Adherence Team Challenge establishes this issue as a top priority for the next generation of health professionals and inspires them to advance this goal within their own communities."
— Kathleen Jaeger, NACDS Foundation
The winning schools' campaigns were selected among nearly 50 applications and 109 participating educational institutions.
• National Challenge Award: During February, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy (LECOM) partnered with dentists, nurses, physicians, other health professions and community organizations to counsel nearly 2,000 patients about proper medication adherence in the communities of Erie, Pa., and Bradenton, Fla., where their campuses are located. LECOM held 47 events – totaling 47 – that incorporated the theme of living a healthy life through medication adherence. LECOM also focused on educating other health care professionals by teaching classes to nursing and pharmacy technician students. The LECOM team created a public service announcement (PSA) that was placed in movie theaters, online and on a roadside billboard, and it generated more than 4 million media impressions. LECOM also worked with the local governments of Erie and Manatee counties to have proclamations issued on the importance of medication adherence.
• National Challenge Award: The St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) partnered with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSM) and the Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing to create an interprofessional team of more than 140 student volunteers from pharmacy, medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy and nursing. The team held at least one event for each day in February, creating 28 partnerships and reaching nearly 8,500 consumers during the month. The STLCOP team efforts were driven by the slogan "Let's Talk, St. Louis!" to encourage conversation and useful dialogue with health care professionals. The team conducted outreach in numerous languages and worked in community pharmacies, sports centers, health centers and local faith communities to raise awareness about medication adherence and offer free health screening services. Their efforts culminated in a proclamation by the mayor of St. Louis, declaring Feb. 28, 2014, as "Script Your Future Medication Adherence Day."
• National Target Market Challenge Award: The Touro University Colleges of Pharmacy, Osteopathic Medicine and Public Health built on last year's efforts, boosting its consumer outreach by 71% and interacting with nearly 2,700 patients via partnerships with local organizations at community events. The Touro University team held a large outreach event at the local San Francisco Ferry station to talk to commuters about medication adherence. The team also emphasized outreach to underserved populations by distributing campaign materials in Vietnamese, held health screenings at local homeless shelters, and worked with the student-run clinic to conduct medication reviews and physical examinations. During the month, the team was able to create partnerships with other clinics and pharmacies to distribute materials.
• Health Disparities, Underrepresented Community Outreach Award: The Interprofessional Health Council at the University of Wisconsin-Madison worked in its community to reach people with low income or without health insurance. The team conducted most activities at free medical and pharmacy clinics and at local food pantries. It provided critical information about the importance of taking charge of one's health and taking medication as prescribed during the earlier medical visits. The team directly counseled 200 patients and distributed campaign materials that were used during consultations. Through the team's participation in the challenge, lasting partnerships have been developed and will continue throughout the year, including monitoring medication adherence levels among clinic patients.
• Communication and Media Outreach Award: The Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) College of Pharmacy and Medicine students and faculty based much of their activities on a proclamation from the governor of Ohio, with support from Ohio Sen. John Eklund and Rep. Kathleen Clyde, declaring Feb. 15 to be "Remember to Take Your Medicines Day." The governor's proclamation was incorporated into the team's media and communication efforts, reaching thousands of consumers through newspaper articles, radio spots, online articles and social media during the month. The team was also quoted in major newspapers about adherence month activities and developed a PSA featured on NEOMED websites.
• Creative Interprofessional Team Event Award: The LECOM School of Pharmacy took a creative approach to reach out to health professionals, particularly nurses, about the tools and resources they could use to promote medication adherence with their patients. Student pharmacists and doctors taught at evening RN and BSN programs, where nurses learned about adherence and how to use interventions to foster open communication with patients. The team plans to work with other similar programs in the future to collaborate on ways all members of the health care team can be supported to improve adherence.
"NCPA is proud to co-sponsor the Script Your Future team challenge, a contest that recognizes the next generation of health care professionals' efforts to drive greater medication adherence," stated NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey. “According to NEHI, up to $290 billion a year is wasted on the improper use of medication, and a comprehensive survey of adherence commissioned by NCPA — "Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card" — found Americans only getting a C+ for their efforts. Script Your Future could very well be the spark that ignites the next wave of adherence driving innovation and all of the honorees should be congratulated."
In addition, the following schools were named Finalists under the National Award category: the California Northstate College of Pharmacy, Chicago State University College of Pharmacy, Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.
"The Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge has been an innovative method for our future healthcare professionals to engage with their local communities," commented Lucinda Maine, executive vice president and CEO at AACP. "The levels of communication and types of events held in these communities provide essential information and strategies for patients to improve their medication adherence and ultimately their health outcomes."
Launched in 2011, Script Your Future is a three-year, national public awareness campaign about medication adherence coordinated by the NCL, a private, nonprofit group.