In keeping with its ongoing efforts to benefit patients and help advance public health, the NACDS Foundation is making publicly available an eight-hour online motivational interviewing (MI) program, the Comprehensive Motivational Interviewing Training for Health Care Professionals (comMIt). comMIt offers continuing education credits and can be accessed via the education portal of the NACDS website.

We’re getting past the point at which it’s just OK to prescribe or dispense a drug and hope the patient does something correctly.

MI is a patient-centered, evidence-based form of counseling that helps improve adherence with medication regimen, other health behaviors, and patient outcomes by promoting health behavior change and advancing patient satisfaction with care.

Initially developed by psychologists William Miller and Stephen Rollnick more than 30 years ago, MI was refined for healthcare professionals by  Bruce Berger and William Villaume, who bring best practices and expertise based on  25 years of teaching and research on MI with healthcare professionals and students in health professional programs. In addition, this e-learning is based on Berger and Villaume’s top-rated book, Motivational Interviewing for Health Care Professionals: A Sensible Approach, which was developed specifically to address the time challenges that healthcare professionals face in their daily practices. Their approach has been found by numerous organizations to be easier to understand and use than traditional approaches to MI that use many acronyms.

MI is directed toward assisting patients who are either ambivalent or resistant to changing health behaviors. One of the most notable aspects of this program for healthcare professionals is that it is designed so that MI can be done in very short intervals—two to five minutes at a time—in order  to explore with patients why  they’re reluctant to adhere  to prescribed medication regimens, or following other health-related guidelines.

Berger says, “MI is so effective because we’re not telling patients what to do or scolding them. Instead, we’re exploring what would make them decide to take their medications, lose weight, etc.  We explore what they see as the benefits and barriers, and offer new information for them to consider.” Berger explained that when people are ambivalent or resistant to change, and someone tries to tell them what to do, “they dig in even further; but if you acknowledge their reluctance in a sincere way, and accurately reflect it back to them,” patients become less defensive and more willing to talk about their reluctance to engage.

This e-learning MI approach to improving patient outcomes is gaining traction in healthcare because of the efficiency and flexibility of the online training method, and because at this critical juncture in healthcare, with dramatically rising healthcare costs, the healthcare field needs to explore innovations in healthcare delivery to improve outcomes. The advantages  of an online e-training course are numerous and include reduced costs and an environment where  participants can learn at their own pace, take notes and review modules as many times as they want.

Berger said pharmacists who have taken the training “feel much more relaxed and satisfied with their interaction, because instead of feeling frustrated in their communication with their patients, there is a strong sense of rapport and cooperation that develops.” He added, “We’re getting past the point at which it’s just OK to prescribe or dispense a drug and hope the patient does something correctly. The healthcare professional has to be directly involved in assuring that the patient really understands why they have been prescribed medication, etc., and if there’s reluctance to engage, the healthcare professional has to be able to intervene in a way that increases the chance that something positive will happen.”

Don’t miss an opportunity to participate in this cost-effective online MI program that helps improve health outcomes. For more information on enrolling in the comMIT, visit the education portal of the NACDS website.