Medication education for patients is essential to ensure that they are taking their medication as prescribed. Here are four reasons why explaining medication is crucial to patients.

Medication education for patients is essential to ensure that they are taking their medication as prescribed. Here are four reasons why explaining medication is crucial to patients.

According to the American Medical Association, one of the reasons patients don’t take their medication is due to a lack of understanding. This means they are not reaching positive health outcomes because they may not understand the hows and the whys of the regimens you prescribe.

A visit to your office can be stressful for some patients. They know their time with you is limited so they prepare by picking what they consider to be the most important questions or statements related to their condition.

Unfortunately, not many of these questions are about their medications, leaving patients confused about their instructions.

Lack of Medication Education for Patients

The lack of medication education can lead to negative consequences. Here are some facts that may surprise you:

  • Many of your patients will blindly follow your instructions regarding medication, even if they notice new negative symptoms.
  • Many of your patients do not read the medication information materials you give them regarding their prescription drugs. As a result, they’re not sure what to expect. Some patients may not speak English fluently enough to understand the materials, either.
  • Many of your patients do not how to pronounce the medication you prescribe; much less understand why they need to take it.
  • Many of your patients do not know what to do if the medicine you prescribe causes a negative interaction.
  • Many of your patients do not understand how taking their medication can improve their health.
  • Many of your patients will stop taking their medications if they have trouble (affordability, pharmacy issues, Medicare problems, transportation issues, hard-to-swallow, etc.).
  • Many of your patients are on multiple medications, and the facts above apply to all of them.

Knowing this, you can see how patient education is essential for patients beginning new medication regimens. It’s also crucial for people who have been on a particular medication for a long time and might be unsure whether they should continue taking it. Non-adherence or sporadic medication use lowers patient safety and makes your job more difficult to do.

Liability and Lawsuits

During a visit with your patient, you tell them to take their medicine three times a day. They don’t write down your instructions and the message on the pill bottle, written by the pharmacist technician, says to take three pills, three times a day.

The patient can’t remember your specific instructions, so they follow those given by the pharmacy. Instead of ingesting three pills a day, they are consuming nine. They experience an overdose that could lead to fatal results.

Taking extra time to discuss the medication in detail with your patient could have prevented this. The patient would have noticed a discrepancy on the pill bottle and called you for verification before taking the first dose.

This is just one example of a medication error that can cause harm to your patient. Medication management is a crucial aspect of patient care, so taking the time to thoroughly explain and allow for questions is essential.

Prevent Medication Errors

Medication errors are becoming more common. Pharmacists and technicians may make considerable errors including mistaking a pink-colored blood pressure pill for a pink-colored allergy medicine. The patient gets the wrong medicine and their health suffers.

Without perfect pill separation in packaging, patients can get similar pills mixed up too.

Other medicine errors can include cross-contamination, dosage typos, giving the right medicine to the wrong patient or mixing up doctor orders with patients who have similar names.

These errors happen daily, but they don’t have to if you give your patients better service.

Give Patients Power

The more you know, the better. This is true for patients understanding their medications, too. The more knowledge they have about their medication, the better decisions they will make about adhering to the treatment plans their healthcare professionals prescribe. Telling patients about the health outcomes they can expect if they take the drugs, as well as what side effects may appear, all contribute to improving patient satisfaction and patients’ understanding.

If patients know the exact benefits of taking their medicine, they may be more likely to follow through with the treatment plan.

Most importantly, providing the most education to patients gives them more power and control over their health. The more invested they become in improving their health, the more success they will see. In the end, improving patient health is the goal of both you and your patients.

Improve Patient Health

If you prescribe a blood pressure medicine to treat high blood pressure in your patient, don’t just prescribe it and send the patient home. They may or may not take it, they may take it sporadically, they may take it at the wrong time of day or mix it with other drugs that can cause problems.

None of these will improve patient health. Medication education, however, can.

However, if you prescribe the medication, explain why you chose that specific medication. Tell them how the medicine will improve their blood pressure. Tell them about the possible side effects they may experience and when they may experience them.

Explain to your patients what side effects are normal and which ones are abnormal. Instruct them on what to do if they have negative side effects, which ones need emergency room help, and which ones need a call to your office.

By explaining exactly how the medicine works with the body to lower blood pressure, healthcare providers are helping patients feel more in control. They are also, though, increasing the chances of medication adherence because patients will better understand what happens if they don’t take the medicine.

Having all this knowledge helps the patient recognize its importance. They are more likely to take their medicine as prescribed. Both of you will see improved patient health.

Changes You Can Make

There are many things you can do as a physician to better explain medications to your patients. You can create videos of yourself offering detailed information about medicine. You can teach your assistants to share medication education with patients, and each time you prescribe a new medicine, have them meet with the patient. If you have many patients who don’t speak English, having assistants who speak Spanish or other languages common in the area is crucial.

One of the best ways to ensure patients understand medications is to start offering medication dispensing services at the point of care. Meaning, you become the pharmacist for the patient or the caregiver, and before they are discharged from your appointment, they have their prepackaged medication. They also need to have the chance to ask about anything that may be worrying them, from medication safety concerns to how often to take it.

In-office dispensing eliminates pharmacy errors and gives you more time to meet with the patient. Dispensing programs come with multiple safety and educational benefits for patients, equipping you with better information and providing tools to help you empower your patients.

The advantages of an in-office dispensing program lead to convenience for patients, better access to your office staff, easier refill systems, and better prescription monitoring capabilities for you.

All these lead to improved patient health.

If you are interested in learning more about physician dispensing laws, contact a physician dispensing company like us. Call Proficient Rx today.