Retail News Breaks Archives
CVS' MinuteClinic aims to bolster health literacy
December 20th, 2010
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Through an agreement with the National Patient Safety Foundation, MinuteClinic said it will become the nation's first retail health clinic provider to implement the Ask Me 3 health literacy program.
Plans call for MinuteClinic, a subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corp., to launch the program in early 2011 in its 500 walk-in clinics inside CVS/pharmacy stores in 26 states and the District of Columbia.
Ask Me 3 is an educational program provided by the National Patient Safety Foundation to promote open communication between patients and health care providers to help improve health outcomes.
"Low health literacy is an emerging public health issue that is broad in scope and can affect any patient regardless of education and reading levels," Andrew Sussman, NinuteClinic president and CVS Caremark senior vice president/associate chief medical officer, said in a statement. "Research shows that patients who understand health instructions get well sooner, tend to take their medication regularly and make fewer mistakes with their care. In particular, clear communication helps individuals do a better job of managing chronic health conditions, including those patients we assist with monitoring at MinuteClinic for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and asthma."
The Ask Me 3 program encourages patients to ask and understand the answers to three questions: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this?
"Improving health literacy and the dialogue between patient and provider are essential to safe and appropriate patient care," stated Diane Pinakiewicz, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation. "We look forward to working with MinuteClinic to further our shared goal of providing clear and simple information that helps patients become active participants in managing their health and more knowledgeable about the care they need."
Ask Me 3 posters will appear at all MinuteClinics nationwide, and brochures about the program will be offered to patients when they visit, the health clinic operator said. Each clinic will have a certificate designating it as an Ask Me 3 participant. In addition, MinuteClinic practitioners will receive Ask Me 3 training developed by the foundation.
"Health literacy is the strongest predictor of an individual's health status," according to Paulette Thabault, MinuteClinic's chief nurse practitioner officer. "This program will provide another tool for our practitioners to help them encourage and empower patients to take ownership of their own health."