Medication is by far the most common method for the treatment of diseases, with between 75% to 80% of physician office and hospital outpatient clinic visits involving medication therapy. Annually, about 275,000 people die each year, and roughly $528 billion in medicine is wasted due to poorly managed medications. Doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals have a responsibility to protect patients and ensure that every prescription is safe, effective, and appropriate for each patient. A recent article in the Pharmacy Times, authored by the executive director of The Get the Medications Right Institute, highlights some of the major barriers to appropriate prescriptions. Issues range from a lack of transparency to inadequate commitment to team-based care and benefit plan design integration by care providers. These problems can compound, ultimately resulting in dangerous results for patients.
According to the article, one of the consistent themes when it comes to the failure of medical professionals to optimize medications or prescribe the proper medicine is the current siloed approach to treatment. With different treatment providers unable or unwilling to communicate with each other in the current health care environment, cost-saving and comprehensive care are significantly more difficult to achieve.
What Are Steps to Prevent Improper Prescriptions?
The piece outlines five straightforward questions that health care providers, patients, and pharmacists can utilize to prevent improper prescriptions and optimize the impact of medication when it comes to health care. Briefly stated, the steps are to ensure the correct medication, allow patients to ask questions, ensure the proper dose, provide patients with a timeline for taking the medication and explain how patients will know the medication is working.
Is this the right medication for the patient?
While this may seem intuitive, it is an important question to ask when prescribing new medication and having the patient involved in the process allows them to invest the time to learn about their own care.
Where can the patient go with questions about the medication?
Creating a clear source for questions regarding medication makes it easy for the patient to track their care, and prevents confusion and miscommunication between health care providers when it comes to prescribing medications.
What is the right dosage of this medication?
Ensure that it is clear to everyone in the prescription process what the correct dosage of a new medication is. This is vital to establish a proper method of taking the medicine for the patient and can allow pharmacists to flag potential issues in care.
When is the right time to change or discontinue medications?
Health conditions evolve and new medical therapies are brought to the market every year. It is essential to be aware of changes so that the patient can receive the most appropriate care on a continuous basis.
How will the patient know if the medication is working?
Setting clear personalized goals with the patient and members of the care team, such as doctors, caregivers, and others involved in the health care process, is extremely important. This is an ongoing process that involves assessment and reassessment to ensure that medication is having the desired health outcomes for each patient. Ultimately, it is of paramount importance that the patient is receiving optimized care and the proper and appropriate prescriptions for their health needs.
Finding Your DC, Maryland, or Virginia Pharmacy Error Attorney
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a pharmacy error or improper prescription, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Reach out to our team of experienced Maryland pharmacy error attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen to discuss your case. Expenses or harm sustained due to a pharmacy error can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced roster of attorneys by your side can make a world of difference in the compensation you receive. Our qualified medical malpractice lawyers represent clients from throughout Maryland in many sorts of medical tort cases, including pharmacy error claims. Call now at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced attorney in our Maryland office.