By Tomer Gofer, CEO, Vaica Medical
Caraline Watkins, Contributor
The New York Times published an article called “Kentucky’s New Idea for Medicaid Access: Pass Health Literacy Course”, summarizing Kentucky’s new plans to require Medicaid recipients to pass a health literacy course and corresponding quizzes in order to be eligible for government funded health care. According to the article, recipients would be asked questions ranging from making a budget to managing a chronic disease. The implementation of courses and quizzes is intended, as defined by the State, to “empower their health”.
A patient goes to a doctor because they don’t feel good, want to know what is wrong with them and want to be treated to get better. They need the doctor’s knowledge and expertise to do this. So, why does a patient in need have to jump through academic-type hoops in order to receive care? Seems to me, this will only put unnecessary pressure on the patient and increase non compliance.
Is there a deeper reason for the patient education requirement that is not being addressed to the point that courses and quizzes are needed to get medical care? Indeed, there should be better communication between the doctor and the patient to ensure that the patient is getting the best care possible. This doctor-patient relationship should also include patient education so the patient understands the medical help they are receiving.
The article notes that there are various shortcomings in patient care connected to health education. But these shortcomings should be a reminder to healthcare professionals to make sure their patients understand from them the nature of their medical condition and how to follow the prescribed treatment. In a study done on doctor-patient relationship and medication adherence with hypertension, it was found that the higher satisfaction between doctor-patient relationship, there was a higher medication adherence rate. We already know that how well a patient adheres to their medication greatly affects the increase in health outcomes for the patient. Instead of required quizzes, maybe the avenue of increasing patient medication adherence should be through other tools and innovative solutions. After all, we are living in a high tech world.
Learning and support is indeed essential. Follow up materials and regular interventions to enhance both is also crucial. The pressure of a test on the material is not.