Better-informed patients can help cut costs, study shows

A combination of giving patients more information about their conditions and better managing their medications can slow the revolving door of Medicare patients in and out of hospitals by about 20%, a study released Monday by Harvard University shows.

Researchers determined that physicians often did not have a complete list of medications that other doctors had prescribed for a patient, so they prescribed drugs that reacted badly with the patient’s other medications, said Randi Berkowitz, a geriatrics instructor at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. Most often, Berkowitz said, patients did not understand the care they were receiving or needed.

“They think they’re sicker than they are, or they don’t understand how sick they are,” Berkowitz said.

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