Statewide “Ask About Aspirin” Campaign Hopes To Bring Better Discussion With You And Your Doctor
ST. CLOUD -- A statewide campaign is hoping to better open the lines of communication between you and your doctor. The "Ask About Aspirin" campaign has been bringing awareness on the health benefits of low-dose daily aspirin use.
Dr. George Morris is the Medical Director at the CentraCare Clinic. He says the challenge with this program was getting patients talking before they suffered a heart attack.
"The challenge with the Ask About Aspirin program was how do we bring that to patients before they had a heart attack. So is the ounce of prevention worth the pound of cure by just simply taking a medication," says Morris.
Medical providers have been trying to find ways to decrease the number of heart attacks for the last 20 years. Over the past year CentraCare Health has been using electronic records to help engaged the conversation between patient and provider.
Kenny Bechtold is the Senior Quality Improvement Adviser with CentraCare Health. He says this year their focus will be to have the information better available to patients and get them asking the questions.
"We are going to do more of the push work on having the patients being educated on what aspirin use means so when they are coming into the clinic they have the same agenda as our care providers do," says Bechtold.
The campaign is directed to men ages 45-79 and in women ages 55-79 to find a balance for the risks of a heart attack or stroke. Low-dose aspirin is about 81 milligrams. Morris says the medicine is meant to coat the platelets to prevent clots.
"The aspirin helps coat the platelets and makes them slippery so they can glide through narrow areas and makes them less sticky and less likely to cause a clot," says Morris.
CentraCare Health and the University of Minnesota have been partnering on the campaign. Bechtold hopes with the research and information they continue to collect, that Minnesota can be a pioneer in the industry.
"When we first started this initiative we were at about 53 percent of that patient population using aspirin, and as of May 2015 we increased that to 59 percent which represents more than 2,100 patients who are using aspirin as a primary prevention," says Bechtold.
The campaign branches off a similar study that was done in Hibbing a few years ago. For more information on if aspirin is right for you or if you're a candidate visit www.askaboutaspirin.org.