Public Release: 

American College of Physicians Foundation convenes conference

American College of Physicians

PHILADELPHIA -- (November 23, 2005) Healthcare professionals have an opportunity to learn about successful operational models that have been shown to improve health outcomes among patients with low health literacy levels. Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, as well as leaders in professional education, business, insurance, government, and nonprofit healthcare organizations are invited to attend a one day conference on Wednesday, November 30 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., presented by the American College of Physicians (ACP) Foundation and co-sponsored by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Top experts in the fields of health literacy and health communication will gather from around the country for the 4th Annual National Health Communication Conference, 'Practical Solutions to the Problems of Low Health Literacy' to discuss programs to overcome low health literacy, and review preliminary research results about inconsistencies with prescription drug bottle labeling.

"With studies reporting patients forgetting up to 80 percent of what their medical team has told them as soon as they leave the physician's office, and nearly 50 percent of what they remember they incorrectly remember, we clearly have a major problem on our hands," said Jean Krause, CEO, ACP Foundation. "Additionally, 40 percent of the American population read below a fourth grade reading level and can't understand much of the information they are provided including how to take their prescription drugs properly."

- more - Low patient health literacy adds to the financial strain on our healthcare system and poses significant risks, as it can lead to medical errors. Low health literacy negatively impacts up to 90 million patients in the United States. The financial impact the U.S. healthcare system is estimated to be in the range of $60 to $70 billion annually. Confusion around medication dosages is prevalent in the older population. Recent statistics show that 65 percent of hospitalizations for people over the age of 80 is due to improper medication practices.

The keynote address at the conference will feature Jay Bernhardt, PhD, MPH, Director of the newly created National Center for Health Marketing (NCHM) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. One of the newest national centers at the CDC, NCHM specializes in marketing and communication programs that are high-impact, science-based, and customer-centered.

The conference will also feature plenary sessions, and preliminary findings from the ACP Foundation's 'Prescription Bottle Labeling Project,' will be presented. The project, led by a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School and the RAND Corporation, is examining the inconsistencies with prescription drug bottle warning labels and potential solutions. To date, a host of labeling-related issues has been found to be associated with medication non-adherence issues and patient safety.

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For a full copy of the conference program visit www.foundation.acponline.org. Healthcare professionals can register for the conference at the website and members of the press interested in attending can call 877-208-4189 for press registration.

The ACP Foundation exists to support the mission of the American College of Physicians and to improve the health of the public through the creation and support of programs in education, research, service, and professionalism. A nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia, the ACP Foundation works with other health organizations, the public, and corporations.

About the American College of Physicians (ACP)
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Membership includes more than 119,000 internists, related subspecialists, medical students, residents and fellows. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults.

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