Thursday, August 06, 2009

Question for the health conscious

MSN has an article up today on 10 Common Medication Mistakes That Can Kill. At the end of each segment they have a suggestion on "how to avoid it". Each of their suggestions requires questioning the doctor and/or pharmacist to make sure they know what they are doing, that they haven't overlooked something important (like your age! and the fact that you're taking something else that contains that ingredient or has that side effect!), and that they've prescribed/dispensed the correct dosage and/or medication. One suggestion is that you ask the doctor to put on the precription why sie is prescribing that medication to help eliminate confusion at the pharmacy.

And all of that is very wise and sensible and good but...given that the AMA just considered a resolution to code for non-compliant patients (defeated - this time - thank goodness), how well will MSN's methods go over with some doctors and pharmacists?
I'm not even starting on the question of how the patient is supposed to get the doctor's attention back to even ask the questions considering that by the time a patient receives a scrip in a doctor's office, the doctor is on to the next patient.

I am, again, thanking goodness that my doctors and pharmacists seem to actively encourage questioning, but holy guacamole, that's by no means universal, is it?


kathy a. said...

this is pretty appalling, primarily because [a] patients have the right to control their own health decisions if they are mentally competent, and [b] the proposed provision could easily be abused by any doctor, to label patients who ask too many question, who decline to follow advice they consider unhelpful, who go off meds even for good reason, etc.

the idea might have been to target a very few patients with multiple difficulties -- say, an alcoholic diabetic homeless person who is prone to accidents, emotional outbursts, and not taking meds. and such patients are no doubt challenging, but enlightened doctors understand they need multiple services -- not simply to be branded and discarded. [which, frankly, happens a lot anyway with such patients.]

people who can't afford their meds -- and/or whose insurance won't cover them -- could be branded. same for people who have intolerable reactions to meds, or who make reasonable decisions to get off them. same for people who have trouble sticking with medication regimens -- and might be able to do it better with some pointers or support.

what about "lifestyle" issues? there was once a substitute doctor at my medical practice who insisted [at our one meeting ever] i needed to quit my career because it is too stressful! one suggestion for my son's asthma was to get rid of the pets -- we could not do that, not when other ways of managing his illness were available.

and no, not every doctor and pharmacist is willing or able to spend a lot of time answering questions.

ccw said...

I am also fortunate that my doctors and pharmacists have always taken the time to answer my questions and listen to my concerns regarding medication. It could be they are fabulous or just realize that I'm not leaving the office until I'm happy.

There are so many people that do not speak up when they visit their doctor and something like this would only greatly increase the chances that they would remain silent.