Medication Counseling by Digital Audio | Steve Leuck, PharmD | RxEconsult

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Medication Counseling by Digital Audio Category: Pharmacy by - October 19, 2013 | Views: 25050 | Likes: 2 | Comment: 0  

Healthcare Innovation: AudibleRxTM Provides Medication Counseling by Audio 

As a Community Pharmacist in a clinic outpatient pharmacy, I am regularly involved in the care and educating patients about medications. We are located on a hospital campus and commonly have patients and their families walking by our store. Unlike a mail-order pharmacy or most big chain pharmacies a pharmacist is right up front and available for consultation.  

One particular day, back in June of 2011, I had a patient walk into the pharmacy with a question about their medication. This was not one of our regular patients; the patient had received a prescription from a mail-order pharmacy. The patient had not received any counseling about their medication and had some questions about the usage and interactions with other medications.

This process happens at least once daily in our pharmacy and in each situation I initially discuss the importance of choosing a Community Pharmacy they trust and then developing a professional relationship with a pharmacist at that pharmacy. Maintaining a relationship with a community pharmacy allows a patient access to a multitude of medical information at little or no cost. 

Community Pharmacy is the only profession I am aware of where a customer may walk up to the counter, ask to speak with a pharmacist, and then receive medical information free of charge. When a patient has a relationship with a community pharmacy, that pharmacy will have the patients entire medication profile in their computer so that they may provide meaningful and specific recommendations based upon the patients particular question or situation. 

Now, back to the patient that came into the store in June of 2011, this time it was different. As I was talking with the patient an idea came to me, wouldn’t it be great if there were a website that patients could go to, click on the name of a medication, and then listen to a pharmacist describe all of the important OBRA 90 counseling information that is required for a complete counseling session for each new medication. 

In July of 2011 AudibleRxTM was born. AudibleRxTM is based on the idea that patients who understand their medications will more likely adhere to their therapy, have fewer adverse events, fewer hospital admissions and achieve a more positive outcome with their pharmaceutical treatment.  

Daily, patients receive prescriptions in the mail or pick up prescriptions from busy pharmacy counters. Current barriers to effective medication counseling do not regularly allow time for the pharmacist to sit with the patient and discuss their medications for 10-15 minutes at the counter. Pharmacists are under tremendous pressure to meet their performance metrics and will regularly cover the counseling points of three or four medications in fewer than two minutes. 

Furthermore, the patient may be in a hurry to get their medication and leave and may not fully pay attention to what the pharmacist does say. The patient is sent home with stacks of pamphlets that may appear cumbersome to read. Patients may then try to search out information on the internet, but how is a patient to narrow down all the available information to just the OBRA 90 specific counseling information?

Health Literacy, regarding medication therapy, involves:

  • Understanding your medications, why you are taking them, what to look for, which diagnosis they correspond to, cautions, what to do if you miss a dose, interactions with your other medications,  proper storage and disposal of your medications, and a host of other specifics.
  • What are the short and long term consequences of not taking your medications?
  • Who do you call for questions about your medications?

If we are able to increase the Health Literacy of patients, we will also be increasing their adherence to medications and decreasing their chance of hospital admissions.  Results from a recent study showed clearly that patients with Health Literacy limitations had significantly decreased adherence to their medication compared with patients with no Health Literacy limitations. Results from another study show that an increased rate of hospital readmissions for ambulatory heart failure patients was directly related to decreased health literacy of the specific patient population.

Patient medication education is only one aspect of medication adherence; however, as stated in a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Our findings suggest that educational interventions and case management approaches offer the most consistent and voluminous evidence of improvements in medication adherence across varied clinical conditions.”

“The pharmacy profession has accepted responsibility for providing patient education and counseling in the context of pharmaceutical care to improve patient adherence and reduce medication related problems.”

AudibleRxTM developed a template from extensive review of the guidelines on pharmacist based patient education and counseling. We follow this template in the development of each Medication Specific Counseling SessionTM.  Each recording on the AudibleRxTM website is an original production; written, recorded and copyright protected by AudibleRxTM.

Recorded medication education effectively bridges the medication-education counseling gap between the patient and their health care providers. Patients log on to the AudibleRx website, navigate to the medication they want to learn about, click on the link, then listen to a 6-8 minute Medication Specific Counseling SessionTM describing all the OBRA 90 counseling information for that specific medication.

After listening to a session a patient will have a clear idea of what they know and don’t know about their medication and will be able to take educated questions back to their own health care provider. It is important to understand that the digital recordings provided through AudibleRxTM are meant to supplement a patient’s education and understanding of their medication while encouraging the development of a relationship with a pharmacist at a community pharmacy. Medication Specific Counseling SessionsTM are not a legal replacement for a face-to-face counseling session with their own pharmacist; however, patients may appreciate the simple manner in which they may access and listen to a medication education session.

AudibleRxTM is available for both individual and group membership. Individuals may register through for a small fee and then have full access to all the available counseling sessions for one full year. Group memberships, such as may be used by an institution, hospital, pharmacy, clinic, insurance company, or any other group, are available. Click here to see many of the ideas on how AudibleRxTM may be implemented in the institutional or group setting.

AudibleRxTM has also released a smart phone and tablet application complete with all the 200+ Medication Specific Counseling SessionsTM currently available. These apps are being offered for free to individual users and are for personal use only. They are not to be used for institutional education purposes without the institution first obtaining a licensing agreement from AudibleRxTM for such use.  

AudibleRxTM fills an education need by increasing the health literacy of patients. This will be accomplished by bridging the medication-education gap between patients, their pharmacists and their doctors. Patients may listen to a digital audio education session about their particular medication and then have a clear idea of what they do and don’t know about their medication. Patients may then be in a better position to take educated questions back to their own health care provider.


About the Author
Steve Leuck, Pharm.D., is President/Owner of AudibleRxTM.  Dr. Leuck also works full time as a community pharmacist in a clinic setting where he counsels patients on a daily basis.

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