The health-care industry is arguably one of the most advanced business sectors in the United States. Despite this, the number of medical error-related deaths continues to escalate and a complex health-care system still compromises patients’ quality of life. As a result, society is involved in an ongoing blame game with no conclusion in sight. But evidence points to functional health literacy, which the Council of Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association defines as “the ability to read and comprehend prescription bottles, appointment slips and the other essential related materials required to successfully function as a patient.” In addition, prescription fraud continues to threaten the credibility of the health-care system. Manufacturers and distributors of health-care forms can use these weaknesses in the system as opportunities to drive profitable margins for their businesses by introducing comprehensive forms to the market.
According to a report from the Institute of Medicine titled “Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion,” approximately 90 million American adults have difficulty interpreting and using health information. And, because patients are being required to take a more active role in making health decisions, society has only recently realized the consequences of poor health literacy. People with low functional health literacy are less likely to understand written and oral information from health-care providers and adhere to a medication or appointment schedule. Now is the perfect time for distributors and manufacturers to re-think this complex system and capitalize on it.
Those within the industry can begin to focus their attention on documents affected by the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Following the enactment of HIPAA a few years ago, health-care providers are now required to comply with a new set of national standards to protect patients’ privacy.
The Flesh Company, Parsons, Kan., noticed the absence of mimeographed patient sign-in sheets typically attached to clipboards in front of the receptionist window. The manufacturer tailored its forms to meet HIPPA regulations while considering the best interest of patients. On the first half of this two-part carbon interleaved unit set, there is an integrated label that is die-cut on each line of the sign-in sheet. “This allows patients’ names to be removed individually as they sign in so their privacy is protected,” explained Donna Grounds, vice president of sales. The part two carbon copy provides the doctor’s office with a complete listing of the patients who have been seen. “It is recommended to glue the form at both the top and bottom for extra security,” Grounds added.