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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Patients Often Lack Knowledge of Their Own Medications

"Patients routinely under-report, or even over-report, their outpatient and inpatient medications, and
should be included in hospital medication management to improve safety, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine."


I've been very frustrated with how we educate patients and document what medicine they were taking prior to admission to the hospital and what medications they should be taking on hospital discharge. To do this, many hospitals use a "Medicine Reconciliation Form." I have yet to see this "tool" implemented well at any hospital. One problem is, as mentioned above, patients often so not know what medicines they are taking. Another problem is that many different individuals can fill out this form, on admission or discharge. I can't begin to tell you how often I see a patient 1-2 weeks after discharge and they have NO idea what Rx they are taking (let alone why!).

All patients on my Post-PCI service have their "Med Rec Form" meticulously filled out by my physician extenders. I also have all my patients care around a "Medication Card" in their wallet or purse. On this card, we list all the patients Rx including name of drug, dose of pill, how many pills taken at one time, how many times a day the pill is taken. Unfortunately, as a "consultant", I have no control over medications prescribed by the patient's other MD's.

Until the medical profesion finds a way to solve this problem, there will still be thousands of patients injured every year from improper medication use.
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1 comment:

  1. Dr Portnay I could not agree more. Lets try this as a way to implement your card idea.
    Have that card filled out(printed) and handed to the patient before they leave the office, hospital or where ever their medication prescribed. I think technology is already available to have a stand alone printer for such use.
    Then leave space on the fold-up cards for the patient to add supplements they are taking and if unknown to you office any other RX's prescribed after their visit. they may be added also. Upon the next visit if that card has been added to, then it should be scanned back into your system (this will find its way to their chart scan it into your system. This will up date the patient file and upon exiting they will receive a new printed update wallet card to have with them.( not sure if this enters into any Privacy issues)
    This idea may catch on with other medical practices and I think this may expedite your idea of keeping the patient informed as well as their other health care providers.
    All the above could easily flow into a swipe card i.e. smart card again technology available today.

    This Card information can be very valuable for travelers, for example in emergency situations, or even visitation to clinics.

    Reed Toth