Serve Your Patients
If you are a healthcare provider there are some simple things you can do to improve medication management.
Get the Whole Story
Encourage patients to bring their updated PictureRx Card to every office visit. Patients often see multiple physicians, and this is a great way to make sure your chart is complete and current.
Ask about medication adherence at every visit.
Most patients don't take their medications as prescribed. They may miss doses, run out or take a different dose than prescribed. As you talk about medication use, make patients comfortable discussing non-adherence. You might mention that many of your patients have trouble taking their medicines on time everyday. Then ask about adherence in an open-ended way. For example, "When was the last time you missed a dose of one of your medicines?" This is more effective than closed-ended questions like, "You're not having any trouble taking your medicines, are you?" to which most patients will simply answer, "No." Use the Picture Rx Card as a reference.
Identify the Issues
Ask follow-up questions to identify 1 or 2 specific problems that you can deal with at that visit. Identify, for example, whether the patient's primary problem is not refilling prescriptions promptly, or not understanding as much as they should about their medicines. You may want to explain how PictureRx helps patients with such issues.
Provide specific advice to improve the patient's medication management, in a way that is easy to understand. Many patients have difficulty interpreting the instructions on pill bottles, warning labels, and informational leaflets that are handed out at retail pharmacies. Patients also forget about half of what is said in the doctor's office. Emphasize important instructions verbally, make sure the patient's PictureRx information is up to date, and encourage them to refer to the PictureRx Card.
Confirm understanding by asking patients to teach-back the key points. The only way to really be sure that you and the patient have the same understanding at the end of the visit is to ask the patient to repeat back the key information. Patients won't feel singled out if you first put the burden on your own shoulders. For example, "I always ask my patients to repeat back the most important points that we have discussed, so I can make sure I have explained them clearly." Then prompt the teach-back of some specific information that you discussed, "Tell me, how did we say you ought to take this new medicine?" Teach-back is hailed as one of the top ways to improve medication management and patient safety. PictureRx enhances the methodology by helping patients to remember the information long-term.