NCPDP Patient Safety Initiative: New Universal Medication Schedule White Paper Offers Recommendations to Increase Patient Understanding of and Adherence to Medication Instructions

NCPDP’s newest patient safety white paper, Universal Medication Schedule, bridges a critical healthcare communication gap to improve compliance with medication adherence. The white paper is intended for healthcare providers; pharmacists; system/software vendors; informaticists; oversight bodies, such as boards of pharmacy and medicine; patient advocates; and others.

Universal Medication Schedule (UMS) is a well-researched methodology that simplifies medication administration instructions for the patient and / or their caregiver. The goal of UMS is to increase patient understanding and adherence of their medication instructions, thus resulting in improved health outcomes.

Today, prescription administration instructions appear on the label in an inconsistent manner. For example:
• Take one tablet once daily.
• Take 1 tablet 1 time per day.
• Take one tablet each morning.
• Take one tablet every 24 hours.

Administration instructions using UMS, an optimal way to convey prescription directions for use to the patient, are standardized to provide explicit timing with standard intervals (e.g. morning, noon, evening, bedtime): Take 1 pill in the morning.

Simplifying medication administration instructions using UMS can reduce potential errors and improve outcomes by ensuring that directions are stated in a way that is easy for patients to understand.

The white paper lays out a set of best practices for implementing UMS (Universal Medication Schedule) using NCPDP’s SCRIPT Standard to support the transmission of the UMS through the use of the Sig segment when an electronic prescription is transmitted from a prescriber to a pharmacy.

Call to Action
Download the UMS white paper today and share it with your co-workers, colleagues and professional organizations to increase awareness of the importance of health literacy, and encourage the implementation of UMS to improve medication adherence and optimize health outcomes for all patients.

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