Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Patient Can’t Remember Their Medication

Could your medication kill you? If you don’t remember what it is, it could. While working in the insurance industry and in the medical field I was very concerned by the number of people that could not recall their medications. I could understand the confusion if the individual was taking a number of medications, with the different names, frequencies and dosages. What surprised me the most was the number of individuals that could not recall their medication even if it was just one. Doctors must rely on the accuracy of the patient’s memory to properly treat these patients. Plus patient’s record may not be readily available. This inaccuracy of the patient’s information and an introduction of a new medication could have adverse interactions and lead to death.

You might be asking yourself, how frequently does this happen? Recent research studies at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine delved into this issue. They found that 50% of patients taking antihypertensive drugs in three community health centers were unable to accurately name a single one of their medications listed in their medical chart. That number climbed to 65 percent for patients with lower health literacy. The results from this study indicated the problem is worse than expected. This left researchers to believe that doctors may not know the medications actually being taking by patients for their chronic conditions. This makes it truly difficult for the doctor to know what medications the patients are actually taking.

Research has identified a definite problem that may lead to deadly consequences to a patient. Some people choose to still leave it in the hands of the medical profession. On the contrary it is the responsibility of the individual to have access to this pertinent information. It is human nature to believe that this will not happen to you, but in a critical situation the simplest things can be forgotten. You need to prepare yourself and your loved ones by taking action. It can be as simple as having a Med File Now (MedFN) account online that will make this information available 24/7. You may think how would only having one medication online save your life, but that is what people thought about wearing a seatbelt.