Oral medications for the treatment chronic conditions have seen unprecedented growth in recent times. Patients with chronic/life threatening conditions are dosing on multiple medicines each day to reduce symptoms–but without tracking medication times or following a particular routine. This is especially difficult for the patients who see multiple doctors.
Dealing with multiple medications can indeed be a confusing process, for patients as well as medical professionals. Following a blatant pattern can also lead to increased health risks for the patient. Medical professionals therefore need to adopt a proactive approach to assist patients in managing their medications.
The confusion can also lead to harmful medicine interactions. It has been estimated by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists that above 34% senior citizens have received a prescription from more than a single physician, and 72% of them are using medicines that were received as prescriptions 6 months ago.
Moreover, several patients have jumped on the ‘pharmacy shopping’ bandwagon as they are considering it to be a frugal approach towards healthcare. The ALARIS Center for Medication Safety and Clinical Improvement reveals that errors in medication administration have resulted in 7,000 deaths a year. The statistics make the problem of medication management apparent.
Thankfully, due to the recent advancements in the domain of health care, medical professionals can utilize certain tools to manage patient medications.
Tools to manage medications and improve patient care
- Electronic health record toolkit
An EHR toolkit computes patient prescription information and then manipulates it to make a schedule that is easy to follow for the patients. A dedicated solution goes beyond tracking patient coughs, allergies and other symptoms by alerting the operator when a new prescription is received to avoid any conflicts.
Also, they can reveal if there is any problem with a particular regime, assisting professionals in avoiding negative outcomes for the patient. It also gives an option to see the ROS information for baselines (normal and abnormal) and the logs created for internal medicine. All the information can also be shared with other medication management specialists if the need arises.
- Electronic prescribing software
E-prescribing software makes it easy for the healthcare provider to understand the medical history of the patient, even if they have been diagnosed and prescribed by multiple providers before. A good solution also comes with features like Dollar A Day Pharmacy look-ups, Google Maps integration and auto-remember feature for medications.
Furthermore, modern solutions are offered with cloud integration and smartphone/tablet compatibility, which allows the user to make prescriptions and oversee a regime for patients without having them to visit every time. This in turn becomes cost effective for the patient and increases the efficiency of the process.
- Medication management apps
Smartphone apps have revolutionized patient care technology, so professionals should educate patients about their benefits. For example, Dr. Rajiv Shah created MyMeds, an app that assists patients to track and share record of medications with pharmacists. The ultimate aim was to reduce the negative outcomes resulting from the failure to follow a regime.
Such apps are improving adherence and unifying patients and physicians. The health care provider can also contribute by editing and viewing medication profiles of individual patients and suggesting a routine change, a downgrade or an upgrade, depending on the progress.