PHARMACY

Partnership aims to address adherence among hard-to-reach populations

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Poor medication adherence is a national problem, but it can be particularly problematic among populations with low health literacy or limited English proficiency.

A deal between two companies aims to provide mobile medication adherence services to both groups. Polyglot Systems and CellepathicRx have partnered to use CPRx’s mobile health platform to deliver Polyglot’s Meducation content to hard-to-reach patients through mobile Web and email technologies and smart phone applications.

"More than 90 million Americans are considered low-health literate or have limited English proficiency," CPRx CEO Greg Muffler said. "Until now, there has not been a good way to deliver medication adherence information to this segment of the patient population. By integrating Meducation into our mHealth platform, we can reach patients with medication adherence information they can understand, on a mobile device that is always with them."

Meducation allows patients and healthcare providers to access medication instructions written to a fifth or sixth grade reading level in more than a dozen, ranging from English and Spanish to simplified and traditional Chinese characters, Korean and Bengali. Large fonts also are available for people with impaired vision, as well as videos to demonstrate medications that may be difficult to use.

"Poor medication adherence has been associated with over 100,000 deaths and $290 billion additional healthcare costs annually," Polyglot CEO Sims Preston said. "Meducation addresses this by providing instructions that are easy to understand. That is only half the battle, though — the instructions must be delivered to patients efficiently and without interruption of provider workflow."


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Study: Blood from periodontal disease can be used to screen for diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Oral blood samples drawn from periodontal inflammation can be used to measure HbA1C levels, a factor that indicates a patient’s diabetes status, according to a New York University study.

An NYU nursing-dental research team conducted a one-year study through which paired samples of oral and finger-stick blood were taken from 75 patients with periodontal disease at the NYU College of Dentistry. A reading of 6.3 or greater in the oral sample corresponded to a finger stick reading of 6.5 in identifying the diabetes range, with minimal false positive and false negative results. According to guidelines established by the American Diabetes Association, an HbA1C reading of 6.5 or more indicates a value in the diabetes range.

The findings were published in November 2011 in the Journal of Periodontology.

"In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening — an important first step in identifying those patients who need further testing to determine their diabetes status," said Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU’s Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry and the study’s principal investigator. "There is an urgent need to increase opportunities for diabetes screening and early diabetes detection. The issue of undiagnosed diabetes is especially critical because early treatment and secondary prevention efforts may help to prevent or delay the long-term complications of diabetes that are responsible for reduced quality of life and increased levels of mortality risk."


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Up to 45,000 Nebraska state employees to regain access to Walgreens with health plan switch

BY Michael Johnsen

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska officials on Wednesday announced the state will switch health insurance carriers from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Healthcare, effective July 1, according to reports.

Access to Walgreens pharmacies played a significant role in that decision, according to Carlos Castillo, head of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services. More than half of the 15,000 state employees and 30,000 dependents presently have their prescriptions filled at a Walgreens pharmacy, according to the report. "When [access to Walgreens pharmacies] stopped at the end of December, it was a huge, huge change — and employees were very vocal about it," Castillo told the Associated Press.

The move is expected to save the state $8 million per year, or about 5%. That cost savings should reach state employees by way of lower premiums, Castillo said.

 

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