I asked a couple of family members what they knew about the current medications they were taking and these were their responses:
My grandma: Today my grandma turned 84, I decided to visit her and then I remembered about this assignment. I asked her what medications she was taking and she said she was taking two pills. When asked if she knew what they were for she said, “The white one is for my blood pressure.” She did not know the name of it, but then again she does not know English and I don’t even think she would attempt to pronounce it. She said the other pill was for her heartburn. She did not know any side effects, she only knew what time she had to take them.
My uncle: My uncle takes many medications. This is only because he had a kidney transplant a year ago due to his diabetes. He said he takes about 10 medications a day. He did not know their name but he knew the color of the medication and what it was for. His nurse has helped him organize his medications, she has marked the ones that are extremely important to take (anti-rejection medications) with a red X. He also carries a list of his current medications with him at all times. I asked him if he knew what would happen if he stopped taking the medications and he said “I am not really sure, but I just know that it is very important to take them.” He also did not know any side effects.
My cousin: My cousin is 20 weeks pregnant. She is taking prenatal vitamins and iron. I asked her if she knew what the prenatal vitamins were for and she said no, but the doctor said it was important for the baby. I was excited to explain to her why it is so important to take them. She knew the iron was for her anemia, and she did not know any side effects but she did know to take it with orange juice.
Recognizing those at risk for CVD is a primary prevention. I found a study that compared a the use of a non-laboratory, paper-based CVD risk assessment chart tool to a mobile phone CVD risk assessment application. The goal was to compare the time it would take to train community health workers, the duration of screening. The paper-based tool was created to avoid laboratory costs; the tool substitutes the body-mass-index for blood lipid level to calculate the CVD risks. This makes screening easier and the best part is that it is cost effective. The development of the mobile device was so it could automatically calculate CVD risks scores with less room for error due to manual calculations and so it could be directly carried into communities. This is an excellent resource that is being used in low-resource settings. The mobile device is also better than the paper-based tool because it can be used by those with a lower set of skills.
The use of the mobile device had some pros and cons. One positive outcome was that it took less time to train personnel in the use of the mobile device compared with the paper-based tool. The mobile device was faster at yielding results. Many of the health care workers felt that there was less room for error because they did not have to manually do calculations. Some cons were that in previous times the visual chart was being used to explain to clients what their results meant. Many also felt that having the detailed chart gave them a better understanding of calculating the risk but with the phone everything was basically done for them.
I really liked this article because it talked about how technology is being used in lower income settings were detecting those at risk for CVD is a high priority. This mobile device it taken into communities, which in my opinion is the way to go because some clients have difficulties with transportation. The device can then calculate the client’s CVD risk and they are then educated or referred to a health care provider. Having a tool that requires little training, has little room for error, and yields quicker results will enhance CVD screening. This is important because the more people that are being screened the more people we can prevent from developing CVD. A con that I would also have trouble with is the fact that the machine is doing everything and when compared to the paper-tool where the calculations were being done and understood by the workers I am not sure how well the workers would understand what the results actually mean when using this technology. The article mentioned that this is being done in South Africa but this would be nice to have in our communities where many are not screened for CVD as a result of more than one obstacle.
Surka, S., Edirippulige, S., Steyn, K., Gaziano, T., Puoane, T., & Levitt, N. (2014). Evaluating the use of mobile phone technology to enhance cardiovascular disease screening by community health workers. International Journal Of Medical Informatics, 83(9), 648-654. doi:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2014.06.008
I have to say that all this technology stuff is not as easy as I thought. It’s going to take me some time to completely understand it. For now I am enjoying the learning opportunity and I am grateful that Jaime is having us do this. This will help us get more comfortable with technology since that is where healthcare is heading. I am willing to try anything at this point since this is our last semester. I am excited for all of our courses and hope that we all succeed.
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