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As patient counseling continues to be a popular topic, pharmacists are turning to strategies that reinforce the knowledge they share at the counter. Educational sheets included with the prescription are a common method, but these are often misplaced or thrown away, which is a waste of paper and money. Healthcare professionals who partner with VUCA Health, on the other hand, are embracing a modern way of keeping their community informed and environmentally friendly.
The journey to bettering medication comprehension began when CEO David Medvedeff noticed a stack of educational paperwork on his father’s kitchen counter. When his father couldn’t answer some basic questions about his prescription, David knew it was time for a different approach to drug information. While thinking of possible solutions David realized that the majority of today’s population uses smartphones, and that’s when MedsOnCue was born.
“MedsOnCue began as a mission to help our own family members better understand the basics of their medication by putting that information directly into the smartphone,” Chief Clinical Officer Kim Russo explains. “That’s how the company was born.” Kim maintains the MedsOnCue content and oversees its production. Before joining the VUCA Health leadership team, she worked as a clinical coordinator in a hospital setting, which gave her the chance to interact with many patients and educate them on their prescribed treatments. With MedsOnCue, Kim reaches the community on a larger scale, which personally excites her.
MedsOnCue is a virtual library of informational videos that further explain medications. Rather than receive papers that are lost or accidentally thrown away, patients can scan a QR code on their bottle to immediately watch a short clip about their medication, such as this one about the Breo Ellipta Inhaler. Access to the video lasts for the duration of the prescription label, so they can go back and view it as many times as needed. For people like David’s father who use their smartphones regularly and with ease, this digital format is a great way to reinforce the pharmacist’s verbal counseling. Each clip also links to the corresponding FDA Medication Guide, and currently, MedsOnCue is the only way these guides can be acquired directly from the label.
This “extension of the pharmacy to the patient’s kitchen counter” also has an eco-friendly initiative called Going Green. For Kim, it’s an exciting opportunity for her fellow pharmacists to make a positive impact on the earth and health. “On a personal note, helping my profession (which is so large) reduce any unnecessary paper we consume is important to me.” VUCA Health has estimated that pharmacies can save thousands of dollars in paper-related costs by converting all of their printed prescription information to MedsOnCue, and Kim adds that PioneerRx users are the largest group of pharmacists who participate in Going Green.
Along with paper waste, MedsOnCue addresses health literacy, the underlying concern for issues like adherence and 5-Star Measures that are constantly on pharmacists’ minds. The pharmacy counsels at the counter, and the MedsOnCue platform reinforces the conversation. The clips are also geared towards a sixth grade-level, and they all encourage viewers to contact their pharmacist or doctor with further questions. After patients grasp the basics of their medications, pharmacists can then work on more complex matters. VUCA Health has slowly introduced adherence videos to the library to begin repeating the message the pharmacy team is teaching.
As of January 2018, over 33 states have indicated that VUCA Health’s video format and platform is a viable alternative to traditional paper handouts. Kim emphasizes the mission of VUCA Health when she communicates with boards of pharmacy. “As a company of pharmacists, we would never want to even think about replacing counseling, which is one of the core principles of being a pharmacist,” she explains. “MedsOnCue is an innovative way to reinforce many of the key talking points that the patient heard at the counter, when they are in the comfort of their own home. And, it allows the patient an easy way to connect back to their pharmacy team if they think of specific questions.” As the industry continuously evolves, pharmacists can offer more personalized and innovative care by incorporating the MedsOnCue digital information with their offered services.