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How is the 3D Printing Community Responding to COVID-19?

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

 

As the new pandemic COVID-19 takes over the globe, several countries are implementing travel restrictions, social distancing and work from home policies. Healthcare systems are overloaded and fatigued by this new coronavirus (COVID-19). Since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, patients require specialist respirators to take over the role of the lungs. These respirators are in short supply, however, along with medical personnel, hospital space and other personal safety equipment required to treat patients.

Professional AM providers, makers and designers in the 3D printing community have started to answer to the global crisis by volunteering their respective skills to ease the pressure on supply chains and governments. The additive manufacturing and 3D printing community has numerous members keen to support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A hospital in Brescia, Italy with 250 Coronavirus patients lacking breathing machines has recently run out of the respiratory valves needed to connect the patients to the machines. In response to the situation, the CEO of Isinnova, Cristian Fracassi used 3D bioprinting to produce 100 respirator valves in 24 hours, which are currently being put to use in the Brescian hospital.

At the same time, Materialise, has released files for a 3D printed hands-free door handle attachment to lessen Coronavirus transmission via one of the most common mediums. Door handles are exposed to a lot of physical contact over the course of a day, especially in public spaces such as offices and hospitals. The 3D printable add-on allows users to carry out the lever action required to pop open most modern doors using their elbows.

Protolabs, a leading on-demand manufacturer with 3D Printing is using rapid production methods to good use during the current Coronavirus outbreak by producing components for #COVID19 test kits and ventilators. California-based Airwolf3D volunteered their own fleet of 3D printers for the manufacturing of respirator valves and custom medical components. The company is also offering remote technical support for medical staff that would like to know more about 3D printing.

Volkswagen has started a task force that will adapt its car-making capacity and manufacturing facilities to the production of hospital ventilators and medical devices. Using their own 125 industrial 3D printers to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, Volkswagen is donating face masks to healthcare providers and local authorities as part of an agreement made with German Health Minister.

Stratasys has organized its global 3D printing resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by printing full-face shields to provide protection to healthcare workers. The company showed that the strength of 3D bioprinting can be adapted on the fly to address shortages of parts related to shields, masks, and ventilators, among other things.
Doctors, hospital technicians and 3D-printing specialists are also using Google Docs, WhatsApp groups and online databases to trade tips for building, fixing and modifying machines like ventilators to help treat the rising number of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The efforts come as supply shortages loom in one of the biggest challenges for health care systems around the world.

SOURCE

3D Printing Community responds to COVID-19 and Coronavirus resources

 

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Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: Understanding the Voices of Patients: Unique Perspectives on Healthcare; June 4 11:00 AM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

 

Description

The role of the patient has evolved dramatically over the past decade. Not only are patients increasingly more involved in their healthcare decision making, they are also passionate advocates who work tirelessly to advance drug development research and development and secure a public policy environment that is patient-centric. Join a discussion with patient advocates as they discuss their journeys to diagnosis and their viewpoints on our healthcare system. They will share their perspectives on what it means to be a patient and how they are advocating in their own unique ways to achieve a common goal: bringing new treatments to patients.

Speakers
Christopher Anselmo: affected by MS but did not understand why he should be involved in a study at the time or share your story but he saw others who benefited from both of these and now is fervent patient advocate. Each patient is worth their weight in gold as needed for other patient support.  The why needs to be asked of oneself before go out to other patients or into new trials. Might not see through to end if don’t have that discussion of why doing this.
Eve Bukowski:  she had stomach aches, went to hospital, and diagnosed with constipation, but had stage III colon cancer.  She was campaigning for Hillary Clinton but then started to campaign for her life.  She wound up having multiple therapies and even many I/O trials.  Fighting cancer is a mental challenge.   She has been fighting for eleven years but has an amazing strength and will.
Emily Kramer: cystic fibrosis patient.  Advocates for research as she has a mutant allele (nonsense mut) that is not targeted by the current new therapy against known mutants of CFTR.  So started Emily’s Entourage for this orphan of an orphan disease.  Funded $4 million in grants and helped develop a new startup and get early seed funding.  Noticed that the infrastructure to get these drugs to market was broken and also is investing to shore up these breaks in drug pipeline infrastructure for orphan diseases. For progressive diseases she would like drug developers to shift the timelines or speed with which they get to take a chance and try that new possibility. As a patient advocacy org, they want to partner every step of the way with biotech/pharma, they understand co’s and stakeholders can only do so much but let’s break out of convention.
Julie: many patient advocacy groups go person to person and make a support network.

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Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

From The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com)

Published January 9, 2019

Health-Care CEOs Outline Strategies at J.P. Morgan Conference

Chiefs at Johnson & Johnson, CVS discuss what’s next on a range of industry issues

One of the biggest health conferences of the year for investors, the J.P. Morgan Health-Care Conference, is taking place this week in San Francisco. Here are some of the hot topics covered at the four-day event, which wraps up Thursday.

BioMarin Mulls Payment Plans

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaimé said he would consider pursuing installment payment arrangements for the biotech’s experimental gene therapy for hemophilia. At the conference, Mr. Bienaimé told the Wall Street Journal that the one-time infusion, Valrox, is likely to cost in the millions because studies have shown it can eliminate bleeding episodes in patients, and current hemophilia treatments taken chronically can cost millions over several years. “We’re not trying to charge more than existing therapies,” he said. “We want to offer a better treatment at the same or lower cost.”

Johnson & Johnson Warns on Pricing

As politicians hammer drug prices, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky suggested companies need to police themselves. At the conference, Mr. Gorsky told investors that drug companies should price drugs reasonably and be transparent. “If we don’t do this as an industry, I think there will be other alternatives that will be more onerous for us,” Mr. Gorsky says. Some drugmakers pulled back from price increases in mid-2018 amid heightened political scrutiny, but prices went up for many drugs at the start of 2019.

Marijuana-Derived Drugs Show Promise

 

CVS Discusses New Stores

CVS Health Corp. Chief Executive Larry Merlo began showing initial concepts the company will be testing as it begins piloting new models of its drugstores that incorporate its Aetna combination. The first new test store will open next month in Houston, he told investors, and it will include expanded health-care services including a new concierge who will help patients with questions. 

Aetna Savings On the Way

Mr. Merlo also spelled out when the company will achieve the initial $750 million in synergies it has promised from the CVS-Aetna deal. In the first quarter, he said the company will see benefits from consolidating corporate functions. Savings from procurement and aligning lists of covered drugs should be seen in the first half, he says. Medical-cost savings will start affecting results toward the end of the year, he noted. 

Lilly Cuts Price

Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. expects average net US pricing for its drugs–after rebates and discounts–to decline in the low- to mid-single digits on a percentage basis this year, Chief Financial Officer Josh Smiley told the Journal. Lilly’s net prices had risen during the first half of 2018, but dropped in the third quarter as the company took a “restrained approach,” Mr. Smiley said. Lilly, which hasn’t yet reported fourth-quarter results, took some list price increases for cancer drugs in late December but hasn’t raised prices in the new year, he said.

Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@wsj.com and Anna Wilde Mathews at anna.mathews@wsj.com

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37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: News at #JPM2019 for Jan. 10, 2019: Deals and Announcements

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

From Biospace.com

 

JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Update: Sage, Mersana, Shutdown Woes and Babies

Speaker presenting to audience at a conference

With the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference winding down, companies remain busy striking deals and informing investors about pipeline advances. BioSpace snagged some of the interesting news bits to come out of the conference from Wednesday.

SAGE Therapeutics – Following a positive Phase III report that its postpartum depression treatment candidate SAGE-217 hit the mark in its late-stage clinical trial, Sage Therapeutics is eying the potential to have multiple treatment options available for patients. At the start of J.P. Morgan, Sage said that patients treated with SAGE-217 had a statistically significant improvement of 17.8 points in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, compared to 13.6 for placebo. The company plans to seek approval for SAGE-2017, but before that, the FDA is expected to make a decision on Zulresso in March. Zulresso already passed muster from advisory committees in November, and if approved, would be the first drug specifically for postpartum depression. In an interview with the Business Journal, Chief Business Officer Mike Cloonan said the company believes there is room in the market for both medications, particularly since the medications address different patient populations.

 

Mersana Therapeutics – After a breakup with Takeda Pharmaceutical and the shelving of its lead product, Cambridge, Mass.-based Mersana is making a new path. Even though a partial clinical hold was lifted following the death of a patient the company opted to shelve development of XMT-1522. During a presentation at JPM, CEO Anna Protopapas noted that many other companies are developing therapies that target the HER2 protein, which led to the decision, according to the Boston Business Journal. Protopapas said the HER2 space is highly competitive and now the company will focus on its other asset, XMT-1536, an ADC targeting NaPi2b, an antigen highly expressed in the majority of non-squamous NSCLC and epithelial ovarian cancer. XMT-1536 is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials for NaPi2b-expressing cancers, including ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Data on XMT-1536 is expected in the first half of 2019.

Novavax – During a JPM presentation, Stan Erck, CEO of Novavax, pointed to the company’s RSV vaccine, which is in late-stage development. The vaccine is being developed for the mother, in order to protect an infant. The mother transfers the antibodies to the infant, which will provide the baby with protection from RSV in its first six months. Erck called the program historic. He said the Phase III program is in its fourth year and the company has vaccinated 4,636 women. He said they are tracking the women and the babies. Researchers call the mothers every week through the first six months of the baby’s life to acquire data. Erck said the company anticipates announcing trial data this quarter. If approved, Erck said the market for the vaccine could be a significant revenue driver.

“You have 3.9 million birth cohorts and we expect 80 percent to 90 percent of those mothers to be vaccinated as a pediatric vaccine and in the U.S. the market rate is somewhere between $750 million and a $1 billion and then double that for worldwide market. So it’s a large market and we will be first to market in this,” Erck said, according to a transcript of the presentation.

Denali Therapeutics – Denali forged a collaboration with Germany-based SIRION Biotech to develop gene therapies for central nervous disorders. The two companies plan to develop adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors to enable therapeutics to cross the blood-brain barrier for clinical applications in neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and certain other diseases of the CNS.

AstraZeneca – Pharma giant AstraZeneca reported that in 2019 net prices on average across the portfolio will decrease versus 2018. With a backdrop of intense public and government scrutiny over pricing, Market Access head Rick Suarez said the company is increasing its pricing transparency. Additionally, he said the company is looking at new ways to price drugs, such as value-based reimbursement agreements with payers, Pink Sheet reported.

Amarin Corporation – As the company eyes a potential label expansion approval for its cardiovascular disease treatment Vascepa, Amarin Corporation has been proactively hiring hundreds of sales reps. In the fourth quarter, the company hired 265 new sales reps, giving the company a sales team of more than 400, CEO John Thero said. Thero noted that is a label expansion is granted by the FDA, “revenues will increase at least 50 percent over what we did in the prior year, which would give us revenues of approximate $350 million in 2019.”

Government Woes – As the partial government shutdown in the United States continues into its third week, biotech leaders at JPM raised concern as the FDA’s carryover funds are dwindling. With no new funding coming in, reviews of New Drug Applications won’t be able to continue past February, Pink Sheet said. While reviews are currently ongoing, no New Drug Applications are being accepted by the FDA at this time. With the halt of NDA applications, that has also caused some companies to delay plans for an initial public offering. It’s hard to raise potential investor excitement without the regulatory support of a potential drug approval. During a panel discussion, Jonathan Leff, a partner at Deerfield Management, noted that the ongoing government shutdown is a reminder of how “overwhelmingly dependent the whole industry of biotech and drug development is on government,” Pink Sheet said.

Other posts on the JP Morgan 2019 Healthcare Conference on this Open Access Journal include:

#JPM19 Conference: Lilly Announces Agreement To Acquire Loxo Oncology

36th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE January 8 – 11, 2018

37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: #JPM2019 for Jan. 8, 2019; Opening Videos, Novartis expands Cell Therapies, January 7 – 10, 2019, Westin St. Francis Hotel | San Francisco, California

37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: News at #JPM2019 for Jan. 8, 2019: Deals and Announcements

 

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37th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE: #JPM2019 for Jan. 8, 2019; Opening Videos, Novartis expands Cell Therapies, January 7 – 10, 2019, Westin St. Francis Hotel | San Francisco, California

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

The annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is the largest and most informative healthcare investment symposium in the industry, bringing together industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators, and members of the investment community.

 

Joe Biden

Joe Biden on the Fight Against Cancer

Former Vice President of the United States joined the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to discuss cancer initiatives.

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Bill Gates

Bill Gates on the Current State of Global Health

In his keynote address at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Bill Gates spoke about the state of healthcare around the world.

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CEO Anne

Anne Wojcicki on Disrupting the Healthcare Industry

The CEO of 23andMe discusses at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference how her genomics company is activating the power of the consumer.

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  1. Another packed house as panel including Saurabh Saha, & Alexis Borisy discuss the rewiring of R&D for the digital age at Exec Bfast

Novartis Talks Move to Cell and Gene Therapies at JPM

Novartis logo on outdoor wall

Denis Linine / Shutterstock

Following a strong post-hoc analysis of mid-stage data in the fall of 2018, Novartis announced this morning the company’s experimental humanized anti-P-selectin monoclonal antibody was crizanlizumab granted Breakthrough Therapy Status by the U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Crizanlizumab received the designation as a treatment for the prevention of vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs) in patients of all genotypes with sickle cell disease (SCD). VOCs, which can be extremely painful for patients, happen when multiple blood cells stick to each other and to blood vessels, causing blockages.

The designation was awarded following results from the Phase II SUSTAIN trial, which showed that crizanlizumab reduced the median annual rate of VOCs leading to health care visits by 45.3 percent compared to placebo. The SUSTAIN study also showed that crizanlizumab significantly increased the percentage of patients who did not experience any VOCs vs placebo, 35.8 percent vs. 16.9 percent.

The FDA designation came one day after the Swiss pharma giant laid out its map for a future of success, sustainability and, if things work out, respect from consumers. In an interview with CNBC Monday, Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan noted that the company is looking to become an entity that doesn’t draw its profits from treating disease, but will make money by providing cures. He pointed to the moves Novartis has made toward gene and cellular therapies that have the potential to cure patients of various diseases in what many researchers hope could be a “one-and-done” treatment. Narasimhan told CNBC that cures are what society wants and that is something they will value. The challenge will be determining the payment system.

As an example, the company is eying potential approval of a gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a fatal genetic disease marked by progressive, debilitating muscle weakness in infants and toddlers. Novartis’ gene therapy Zolgensma is expected to be approved by the FDA this year and could have a price tag of between $4 and $5 million. While significantly high, non-profit SMA groups have already suggested that the gene therapy treatment could be more cost-effective than Spinraza, the only approved SMA treatment on the market.

During its presentation at J.P. Morgan, Novartis pointed to the moves it has made as the company pivots to this future of gene and cell therapies. The presentation noted that over the course of 2018, the company made several deals to sell off non-essential businesses, such as the $13 billion sale of its share of a consumer health business to partner GlaxoSmithKline. Not only that, but Novartis also made significant acquisitions to reshape its portfolio, including the $8.7 billion acquisition of AveXis for the SMA gene therapy. The deal for AveXis wasn’t the only gene therapy deal the company struck. Novartis began 2018 with a deal for Spark Therapeutics’ gene therapy Luxturna, a one-time gene therapy to restore functional vision in children and adult patients with biallelic mutations of the RPE65 (retinal pigment epithelial 65 kDa protein) gene.

In his interview with CNBC, Narasimhan said the company is about “platforms,” which also includes radio-ligand therapy. The company forged ahead in that area with two acquisitions, Advanced Accelerator Applications and Endocyte. Radiopharmaceuticals like Endocyte’s Lu-PSMA-617 are innovative medicinal formulations containing radioisotopes used clinically for both diagnosis and therapy. When the Endocyte deal was announced, Novartis noted the field is expected to become an increasingly important treatment option for patients, as well as a key growth driver for the company’s oncology business.

Other posts on the JP Morgan 2019 Healthcare Conference on this Open Access Journal include:

#JPM19 Conference: Lilly Announces Agreement To Acquire Loxo Oncology

36th Annual J.P. Morgan HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE January 8 – 11, 2018

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Innovation + Technology = Good Patient Experience

Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

Following are a sampling of several relevant articles comprising health innovation and technology, which may ultimately lead to a good patient experience. 

When a health journalist found out her 4-year-old son had a brain tumor, her family faced an urgent choice: proven but punishing rounds of chemotherapy, or a twice-a-day pill of a new “targeted” therapy with a scant track record.

SOURCE

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/genomics-tumor/

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Paying for Tumor Testing

A recent U.S. government decision about coverage of tumor sequencing could affect cancer patients.

SOURCE

https://www.cancertodaymag.org/Pages/cancer-talk/Paying-for-Tumor-Testing.aspx

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Dr. Elaine Schattner has authored numerous articles on cancer — as a doctor and patient. She is a freelance journalist and former oncologist who lives in New York City. She is writing a book about public attitudes toward cancer.

A life-long patient with scoliosis and other chronic medical conditions, and a history of breast cancer, Elaine’s current interests include physicians’ health, cancer, and medical journalism.

SOURCE

https://www.elaineschattner.com/

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Speaking Up for Patient Preferences in Cancer Treatment Decisions.

Informed consent should include your input.

SOURCE

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-04-15/speaking-up-for-patient-preferences-in-cancer-treatment-decisions

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Breast Cancer, Risk And Women’s Imperfect Choices

SOURCE

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/05/15/184188710/breast-cancer-risk-and-womens-imperfect-choices

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A cancer researchers takes cancer personally: Dr. Tony Blau, who started All4Cure, an online platform for myeloma clinicians and researchers to interact directly with patients to come up with a customer treatment plan.

SOURCE

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus Acts Out: The actress on challenging comedy’s sexism, fighting cancer, and becoming the star of her own show.

SOURCE

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/12/17/julia-louis-dreyfus-acts-out

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Thanks to Wendy Lund, CEO of GCI Health (gcihealth.com)  and her team for compiling part of this list. 

Interoperability, patient matching could be fixed by smartphone apps, RAND says: Patients need quality information. A physician at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences believes that the healthcare community must improve reports by making them more accessible to patients.

SOURCE

https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/interoperability-patient-matching-could-be-fixed-smartphone-apps-rand-says

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Sometimes Patients Simply Need Other Patients: Finding a support community is also getting easier, through resources like the Database of Patients’ Experiences, which houses videos of patients speaking about their experiences

 

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At These Hotels and Spas, Cancer is No Obstacle to Quality Care: A trend among spas and wellness resorts shows the increasing integration of safe wellness treatment options for cancer patients.

SOURCE

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More than half of older Americans have “basic” or “below basic” health literacy. How do you make health care decisions when you don’t even understand what the doctor is saying?

From The New York Times

More than half of older Americans lack the skills to gather and understand medical information. Providers must simplify, researchers say.

Every time her parents pick up a new prescription at a Walgreens in Houston, they follow Duyen Pham-Madden’s standing instructions: Use the iPad she bought for them, log onto FaceTime, hold up the pill bottles for her examination.

Her mother, 79, and father, 77, need numerous medications, but have trouble grasping when and how to take them.

The label may say to take one pill three times a day, but “my dad might take one a day,” said Ms. Pham-Madden, 56, an insurance purchasing agent in Blue Springs, Mo. “Or take three at a time.”

So she interprets the directions for them, also reminding her mother to take the prescribed megadose of vitamin D, for osteoporosis, only weekly, not daily.

Part of their struggle, Ms. Pham-Madden believes, stems from language barriers. The family emigrated from Vietnam in 1975, and while her parents speak and read English, they lack the fluency of native speakers.

But recently, Ms. Pham-Madden said, her father posed a question that anyone grappling with Medicare drug coverage might ask: “What’s the doughnut hole?”

Researchers refer to this type of knowledge as “health literacy,” meaning a person’s ability to obtain and understand the basic information needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Can someone read a pamphlet and then determine how often to undergo a particular medical test? Look at a graph and recognize a normal weight range for her height? Ascertain whether her insurance will cover a certain procedure?

Most American adults — 53 percent — have intermediate health literacy, a national survey found in 2006; they can perform “moderately challenging” activities, like reading denser texts and handling unfamiliar arithmetic.

Just 12 percent rank as “proficient,” the highest category. About a fifth have “basic” health literacy that could cause problems, and 14 percent score “below basic.” Health literacy differs by education level, race, poverty and other factors.

And it varies dramatically by age. While the proportion of adults with intermediate literacy ranges from 53 to 58 percent in other age groups, it falls to 38 percent among those 65 and older. The percentage of older adults with basic or below basic literacy is higher than in any other age group; only 3 percent qualify as proficient.

Why is that? Compared to younger groups, the current generation of “older adults were less likely to go beyond a high school education,” said Jennifer Wolff, a health services researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

Moreover, “as adults age, they’re more likely to experience cognitive impairment,” she pointed out, as well as hearing and vision loss that can affect their comprehension.

Consider the recent experience of a retired 84-year-old teacher. All her life, “she was very detail-oriented” and competent, said her daughter, Deborah Johnson, who lives in Lansing, Mich.

But a neurologist diagnosed mild cognitive impairment last summer and prescribed a drug intended to ameliorate its symptoms. It caused a frightening reaction — personality changes, lethargy, dizziness, sky-high blood pressure.

Ms. Johnson thinks her mother might have overdosed. “She told me she thought, ‘This is going to fix me, and I’ll be O.K. So if I take more pills, I’ll be O.K. faster.’”

Yet health literacy can be particularly crucial for seniors. They’re usually coping with more complicated medical problems, including multiple chronic diseases, an array of drugs, a host of specialists. They have more instructions to decipher, more tests to schedule, more decisions to ponder.

Low health literacy makes those tasks more difficult, with troubling results. Studies indicate that people with low literacy have poorer health at higher cost. They’re less likely to take advantage of preventive tests and immunizations, and more apt to be hospitalized.

It may not help much that future cohorts of older adults will be better educated. “The demands of interacting with the health care system are increasing,” Dr. Wolff said. “Ask any adult child of a parent who’s been hospitalized. The system has gotten increasingly complex.”

That doesn’t mean patients deserve all the blame for misunderstandings and snafus. Rima Rudd, a longtime health literacy researcher at Harvard University, has persistently criticized the communications skills of health institutions and professionals.

“We give people findings and tell them about risk and expect people to make decisions based on those concepts, but we don’t explain them very well,” she said. “Are our forms readable? Are the directions after surgery written coherently? If it’s written in jargon, with confusing words and numbers, you won’t get the gist of it and you won’t get important information.”

A few years ago, Steven Rosen, 64, had spent more than two months at a Chicago hospital after several surgeries. Then a social worker came into his room and told his wife Dorothy, “You have to move him tomorrow to an L.T.A.C.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ms. Rosen recalled saying. “What’s an L.T.A.C.?”

Question: Was she demonstrating inadequate health literacy, or should the social worker have clarified that L.T.A.C.s — long-term acute care hospitals — provide more care than nursing homes for very ill patients?

Aware of such issues, health care organizations are scrambling to try to make information more accessible and intelligible, and to help patients of all ages understand an often bewildering environment.

They’re hiring squadrons of care coordinators and navigators (sometimes too many), and redesigning and rewriting pamphlets and forms. They’re teaching medical students to communicate more clearly and to encourage patients’ questions.

They’re turning to technology, like secure websites where both patients and family members can see test results or ask questions.

“It’s not the silver bullet we hoped for,” said Amy Chesser, a health communications researcher at Wichita State University, pointing out that many patients are reluctant to turn to provider websites. But the potential remains.

For now, though, often the primary health literacy navigators for older people are their adult children, most commonly daughters and daughters-in-law.

“In the best of all worlds, she’d just be the daughter,” Dr. Chesser said. “But we need her to serve other roles — being an advocate, asking a lot of questions of the provider, asking where to go for information, talking about second opinions.”

The current cohort of people over 70 grew up in a more patriarchal medical system and asking fewer questions, Dr. Wolff pointed out. Her research shows that while most seniors manage their own health care, about a third prefer to co-manage with family or close friends, or to delegate health matters to family or doctors.

Duyen Pham-Madden plays the co-managerial role from hundreds of miles away, keeping spreadsheets of her parents’ drugs, compiling lists of questions for doctors’ appointments, texting photos to pharmacists when the pills in a refilled prescription look different from the last batch.

She’d probably score well in health literacy, but “sometimes even I get mixed up,” she said.

What’s the Medicare doughnut hole? “I had to look it up,” she said. Once she did, she wondered, “How do they expect seniors to understand this?”

SOURCE

 

 

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