Miriam Isola, DrPH CPHIMS, David Troiano, RPh, MSIA, CPPS, Kathy Schneider, PhD
Previously we have written about the importance of patient engagement and activation to improve patient health outcomes. Along with outcomes, the patient experience is enhanced through a collaborative approach with their care team and tools to support monitoring and positive health behavior changes. We have also talked about the need for providers to have timely and accurate information regarding patient health. Both collaborative communications and data sharing specifically related to medication use are fundamental components of improving the patient experience.
Appropriate medication use is essential for managing many chronic conditions, including diabetes, asthma and heart disease. However, there is not a simple solution to ensure patients receive the prescriptions, education, and support needed to maintain the desired medication therapy. Medication therapy management is a complex issue that encompasses: 1) evidence-based clinical guidelines for the pharmaceutical management of the condition, 2) provider prescribing the recommended medication and the correct dosing, 3) provider verifying the patient is not taking any contraindicated medications, 4) the patient obtaining the prescribed medication, and 5) the patient taking the medication as prescribed (and continuing to do so for the duration of therapy). Getting all of these steps right is critical to optimal medication therapy management and to avoid issues such as:
Polypharmacy -taking five or more medications, many for the same condition. This can lead to an increased incidence of drug interactions, side effects, and adverse reactions.
Medication errors– not using a medication as intended is a significant source of harm.
Patient adherence -lack of adherence often results in suboptimal disease control.