This time of year, many Americans ponder possible resolutions for self- improvement. Many of the most popular New Year’s resolutions continue to focus on health: losing weight, managing stress, giving up bad habits, eating right, and exercising more. One resolution that may be less common – but of crucial importance now and year-round – is a simple one: follow your doctor’s orders.
“Failure to follow prescribed health regimens, or poor medication adherence, is a growing public health concern, made all the more critical as the number of Americans affected by at least one chronic condition requiring medication therapy is expected to grow from 133 to 157 million by 2020,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer organization.
According to Greenberg, nearly three out of four Americans report that they do not always take their medication as directed, a problem that causes more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations, nearly 125,000 deaths in the United States each year, and adds $290 billion in avoidable costs to the health care system annually.
Poor medication adherence has become an issue of such concern that NCL has launched Script Your Future, a national campaign designed to help patients take back their futures by helping them understand the importance of taking your medicine as directed – and following through with it. Script Your Future offers free tools for consumers to manage their medicines and sample questions to help start a conversation with their doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about their medicines.
So, still looking for a new year’s resolution? Here are three easy steps you can take today to get started down the path towards better adherence and healthier living:
- Make the pledge to take medication as directed as a first step to a healthier life in 2012.
- Download a medication wallet card to help keep track of prescribed medication(s) and help guide conversations about medication with health care providers.
- Commit to further engaging in conversations about medication with health care providers during doctor visits and at the pharmacy.
“The consequences of nonadherence are too great to be ignored,” said NCL’s Vice President for Health Policy Rebecca Burkholder. “There are simple steps everyone can take to make adherence a part of their resolutions for a healthy 2012.”
Additional Script Your Future tools include free text message reminders, sample questions for patients to ask health care practitioners, medication lists, condition management sheets, and fact sheets on common chronic conditions. All of these materials can be found on the campaign Web site, www.ScriptYourFuture.org.
Script Your Future is a campaign of the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. For more information about the Script Your Future campaign, visit www.ScriptYourFuture.org.