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Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to

  • Discuss limitations of the current approaches pharmacists use to deliver drug information to their patients.

  • Compare and contrast patient education and consumer health information (CHI) as drug information sources for patients.

  • Define Web 2.0 and social networking and describe how patients use these tools as a drug information source.

  • Discuss mobile health information technology and its impact on how consumers are obtaining information.

  • Describe the model for drug information services delivered by community pharmacists.

  • Design three strategies using electronic media to assist patients in receiving and applying high-quality drug information.

  • List seven characteristics of a high-quality health literate Internet site.

  • Define information therapy in the context of a pharmacist delivered drug information service.

Key Concepts

  1. The trend for patients to obtain their health information from sources disconnected from health care professionals is not going away and it has shifted relationships between patients and their traditional touchstones in health care, namely physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.

  2. Answering drug information questions is a routine part of a pharmacist’s day, but it is too often a passive process that hinges upon the patient’s initiative to ask the important questions regarding their health.

  3. Patient education delivers written or verbal drug information through a planned activity initiated by a health care provider. The goal is to change patient behavior, improve adherence, and ultimately improve health.

  4. Consumer health information (CHI) is actively sought by the patient in response to their need for more information about their health. Importantly, CHI is not individualized for a specific patient.

  5. Social media sites allow patients to create content and share information about their health on the Internet.

  6. Wisdom of crowds is a belief that when patients share information about their common conditions through social networking, their collective wisdom is more beneficial than the expert opinion of just one individual.

  7. The use of mobile technology to obtain consumer health information has experienced a sharp increase within the last few years and continues to skyrocket.

  8. Pharmacists should discuss with their patients why they remain an important source of drug information. Patients should be encouraged not to see CHI as a replacement for actual interaction with a health care provider, but as an extension of care and a way to improve communication.

  9. Patients often have difficulty finding appropriate information in response to their specific health concerns on the Internet.

  10. Once patients identify or are given quality health information, they still may face barriers in being able to use it to improve their health.

  11. Information therapy elevates the term drug information from a passive sounding process to an active component of treatment plans by recognizing that accurate and complete drug information proactively relayed to patients is much more effective than just assuming it will be sought out.


Pharmacists’ roles and responsibilities continue to evolve in ...

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