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Older adults can take medicines more safely and effectively by charting their daily routines
Date:9/9/2008

mplex patient-information condition, patients were described as having a strict daily work routine that only let them take their medicine at lunchtime or after work. In a simple patient-information condition, there were no daily restrictions; patients could adjust wake-up times and meal times.

The "patient-provider" pairs completed four problems, one from each of the four conditions created by combining medication and patient complexity. The pairs had one minute to review each simple-medication problem and two minutes to review each complex-medication problem. The researchers told the pairs to share information verbally but not look at each other's information sheets.

Next, the pairs collaborated on schedules that reflected medication and patient constraints. To simulate the limited patient contact time in routine primary-care visits, collaborators had up to four minutes to work out simple medication problems and 10 minutes to work out complex problems. After they agreed on the schedule and filled out the matrices, patients described them to an experimenter (reported schedules were audiotaped for later scoring).

The researchers assessed problem-solving accuracy, completion time and efficiency. Accuracy was reflected by total points awarded for meeting medication requirements (name, number of pills, times/day, dose spacing, etc.). Problem-solving time started when provider and patient began talking and ended when patients said they were ready to describe the schedule (or until time was up). Efficiency divided solution time by accuracy, indicating the time needed to achieve the same level of accuracy across participants.

Compared to the no-aid condition, the use of both blank paper and the medtable increased collaborative problem-solving accuracy and efficiency while reducing subjective workload, primarily for the complex medication problems. Researchers noticed that participants found it hard to use that particular design of the
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