ePill - electronic Patient Information Leaflets
Objective:Development of a web application that offers patient-friendly aggregation and refinement of information in patient information leaflets. ePill avoids drawbacks of patient information leaflets regarding readability, comprehensibility, and content. Besides improving the presentation of information in patient information leaflets, ePill can contribute to the solution of the prevalent problem of medication compliance by alleviating the process of gaining knowledge about the pharmaceuticals one is taking.
BackgroundMedication needs to be taken correctly. However, patients often do not comply with prescribed regimens. This worsens the overall morbidity and mortality rates. Besides the negative impact on patients' state of health, bad medication compliance raises the overall cost of healthcare due to an increased need for medical treatments, e.g. hospitalizations.Compliance can be defined as the extent to which a patient acts in accordance with the prescribed interval and does of a regimen. Enhancing compliance is a multifaceted challenge. Various factors have been reported to influence compliance: level of education, level of knowledge on illness and drugs, quality of physician-patient communication, duration of illness, costs of medication, necessary lifestyle changes, and the social environment of patients. The multitude of factors reported to affect compliance as well as contradicting results determined in different studies show that improving compliance is a complex problem that needs to be further addressed. With ePill we aim to contribute to the efforts focused at improving medication compliance by enhancing the information provision in patient information leaflets for medication through information technology.Improved presentation of information in patient information leaflets could enhance compliance in various ways. For instance, patients could more easily inform themselves on prescribed pharmaceuticals, enabling them to understand why and how they have to take pharmaceuticals, in spite of a potentially lacking quality of physician-patient communication. Access to a web application is additionally not subject to time constraints and does not require an appointment. Furthermore, a dynamic web application is well suited to aggregate information on multiple pharmaceuticals so that patients can, for example, check whether a common medicine, like a cough syrup, is compatible to other pharmaceuticals they are taking. This way, side effects or adverse drug reactions, which might lead a patient to stop taking a prescribed pharmaceutical, can be avoided without reading a lot of leaflets or consulting a physician.
Current and Future Work Steps
- Improvement of data base through integration of further sources and implementation of data quality enhancement functionality.
- Evaluation of ePill's effect on medication complance in a practical clinical trial.