The five patient “rights” of nursing include the following: right patient, right medication, right dose, right time, and right route. To further improve patient safety and outcomes, healthcare professionals and researchers at Brigham and Women’s Health are proposing a “sixth” patient right—requiring medication indications to be listed on prescription labels.
Importance of Indication
Medication indication labeling will provide the patient with information as to why the medication was prescribed, and how it will improve their health.
In general, the purposes of medication prescriptions are not shared with patients or recorded in EMRs, even though this information is crucial and relevant to quality care. However, when working toward patient-centered care, the “sixth” right, prompts better patient engagement. Patients become increasingly informed of and active in their treatment. Studies have shown that providing knowledge and advocating for patients’ involvement in their treatment leads to improved long-term health outcomes.
Improving Outcomes through Adherence
Indication labeling is believed to lead to increased adherence, which contributes to improved outcomes. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 3 out of 4 individuals in the U.S. do not take their prescriptions correctly, leading to serious health consequences and cost repercussions for patients and the healthcare system. With increased knowledge, patients better understand the implications of failing to take their medications, and be more apt to remain adherent.
Consequences of non-adherence—such as unnecessary hospital readmissions and high costs—have already prompted a rise in the advent of adherence technology. Indication labeling would be a logical next step to combat this issue.
Another benefit of indication labeling is that it will give the patient the ability to question the medication’s necessity, promoting collaboration between the physician and patient to discuss alternative treatment options. Perhaps a medication is not needed at all, and the patient would fare better without any intervention.
This synchronization of patients and providers will promote better health outcomes and treatment as a whole, benefitting both parties. The “sixth” patient right is a smart choice for patient-centered care, and will improve the quality of care and patient experience for those that use it.