I think it’s safe to say that we all have taken a prescription medication or over-the-counter remedy at some point in life. Many of us are fortunate to only take something as needed, but then there are those of us who require medication on a daily basis. Regardless of how often you take any medication, it is extremely important that you be able to tell a health care provider what you are taking. While it may seem like a minor annoyance and inconvenience to carry around a pill bottle, it really is for your own safety and to ensure you receive the highest quality of care.
The current recommendation from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is that patients bring their all prescription medications, as well as vitamins, nutritional supplements and over-the-counter drugs, to every Doctors office visit. This process is termed “medication reconciliation” and is done to avoid medication errors such as omissions, duplications, dosing errors, or drug interactions.
If you haven’t been convinced to take your pill bottles with you, still be empowered by printing this Medication List and record everything that you take http://www.ashpfoundation.org/MainMenuCategories/PracticeTools/MyMedicineList/MyMedicineListCustomize.aspx
In addition to faithfully remembering to bring your medications or medication list, also be sure to:
- Get the facts about your prescriptions. Ask questions about the medications your provider prescribes for you. Keep in mind if cost is a concern, there may be another medicine that costs less and will work the same.
- Stay with your treatment plan.
- Keep a record of all your Doctors, including specialists and the pharmacies you use.
By following these tips you will be informed and empowered to receive safe and effective care.
Barnsteiner, J.H. Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Ch. 38 Medication reconciliation. 2008. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2648/
Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe. 2011 AHRQ. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/safemeds/yourmeds.htm
Next Week: Your Medical Record