“Risk, Respect, Responsibility”: Educational Strategies to Promote Safe Medicine Use
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Nearly four billion outpatient prescriptions will be dispensed in the United States by 2005. Many people using these medicines will be targeted for educational programs promoting their safe, appropriate use. Such programs have been, or soon will be, developed by virtually all major health care system stakeholders, including: government agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, non-profit organizations and coalitions. After examining changes in 1) health professionals' communication of patient medicine information, and 2) consumers' roles and attitudes, an overview of recent U.S. and international consumer education programs is presented. Despite the proliferation of these programs, most share a weak link in evaluating success and in affecting behavior change. Finally, suggestions for future initiatives are offered, particularly regarding improving evaluation methods.
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