Press Release

For Immediate Release
Jun 30, 2009
Contact : Michael Valentino  
732-751-7538
mvalentino@meridianhealth.com

Meridian Health and Iguard.Org Partner To Provide Medication Safety Information

 

Neptune, NJ -  Meridian Health and iGuard.org are partnering to increase patients’ knowledge about their medications through the free Web-based drug safety monitoring service. The service offers timely, personalized drug safety reports, safety alerts, medication cards and product recalls using information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and major drug manufacturers. Meridian Health is the first health system in the country to collaborate with iGuard.org on this important initiative.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA): 33% of adults between the ages of 57-85 take at least five prescription drugs, 50% take dietary supplements and over-the-counter drugs, and more than 2 million older Americans are taking a combination of drugs or supplements that are potentially harmful.

“With Americans living longer than ever, people are increasingly receiving care by multiple physicians – and taking multiple prescriptions while also making many personal decisions about their health, and so the need for timely, personalized drug safety information is greater now than ever,” says Sandra Elliot, director of Consumer Technology and Services Development at Meridian. “This innovative partnership allows us to provide our community with an incredibly valuable service, for free, to help manage their prescriptions, stay healthy, and be more informed about their health care.”

In addition to safety-related information, patients will also have the opportunity to request more information on clinical trials for specific conditions or medications.

Through this partnership, the communities Meridian Health serves can access the iGuard.org service for free through Meridian Health’s website Robert DiNicolantonio, 70, of Marmora, New Jersey, takes seven medications daily and has already received two safety alerts thanks to the iGuard service through Meridian. He also keeps the pocket sized personal iGuard.org medication card in his wallet and in his medicine cabinet.

“It is such a valuable service to get important and life-saving information about medications,” says DiNicolantonio. “I’ve already benefited from the alerts and the information I have received, and so has my wife and friends. As the Fire Commissioner for the Marmora Volunteer Fire Company, I hope that everyone on medications, especially seniors, will sign up for the service so if there is an emergency, the EMTs will be able to find the iGuard medication card in the medicine cabinet, saving time and confusion.”

How it Works The free service is available through the Meridian At Home Web site, http://www.meridianathome.com/iguard.

Once registered, subscribers will input their prescription and other health information and receive a personalized safety report that checks medications for potential side effects, treatment duplication and drug interactions from iGuard.org. The iGuard.org automatic medication safety checks scan the drugs listed by the subscriber for drug-to-drug and drug-to-disease interactions. iGuard subscribers will also receive email updates about clinically reviewed safety alerts and recalls from iGuard.org.

iGuard.org is the only online service that: •· Utilizes data from the FDA, drug manufacturers and researchers. •· Helps individuals/subscribers identify medications that might pose the greatest risk using a personalized, color-coded, drug safety rating system. •· Detects potential interactions between drugs and diseases as well as interactions between drugs – which are the highest cause of death and disability associated with medication use. •· Communicates emerging product recalls (which outnumber alerts by four to one) as well as safety notifications and FDA advisories. •· Informs patients with drug-specific messages. •· Ensures communications are easy to understand through iGuard.org pharmacist review and update/FDA / drug company alerts. •· Allows patients to choose to have their doctor copied on their medication safety information.

Founded by drug safety researchers in October 2007, iGuard.org has a mission to provide more than one million Americans with the information they need to take more a more active role in their own health care.

"We are honored and excited to be working with such a prestigious organization as Meridian Health, which has earned a state and national reputation for clinical excellence and innovation," says Hugo Stephenson, M.D., founder and president of iGuard.org. "Meridian Health’s e-drug interaction and alert services offered through iGuard.org provide subscribers with immediate, customized information about the medications they take. This is a new model for educating patients and empowering them to play a more active role in their own health care decision-making."

Helping the Scientific Community If subscribers choose to take advantage of available clinical trials, iGuard.org connects them with researchers interested in learning more about how drugs work, including rates of side effects for common medications such as statins and antidepressants, and to discover potential interactions between prescription and over-the-counter medications. "Connecting patients in the real world with drug researchers allows us to learn about medicines much faster," Stephenson said.

About Meridian Health Meridian Health is a not-for-profit health care organization comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, and Partner Companies that include home care agencies, rehabilitation and long term care facilities, ambulatory care, ambulance services, and occupational health located throughout Central New Jersey. Meridian Health has been named one of the top 100 Most Wired and top 25 Most Wireless Health Systems in the United States as well as one of best places to work in New Jersey. For more information, please visit www.meridianhealth.com.

About iGuard.org iGuard.org, headquartered in Princeton, N.J., offers a free and secure source of information for registered users who want to get informed, stay informed and share feedback about their medications. It has received critical support from patient advocacy groups concerned by the large number of patients affected by serious, preventable adverse drug interactions. It offers balanced and timely information to help patients manage their healthcare for themselves or loved ones. Registration is free online at iGuard.org, or through its partners including the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (www.ismp.org), participating e-prescribing physicians (www.allscripts.com) and Kerr Drug (www.kerrdrug.com).

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