How Medication Management In Healthcare Benefits Patients and Providers

A man managing his medicationFor a variety of reasons, many patients do not follow their medication guidelines. They may skip their medication, overdose, or underdose. Yet this can severely impact their health. Proper medication management from the side of the healthcare provider may help combat this problem.

Errors in medication could cause adverse drug events, with many patients hospitalized due to not following their medication guidelines. The cost of treating these hospitalized patients runs into the millions, if not billions, of dollars each year.

By improving your healthcare practice’s medication management process, you can help prevent this from happening. To do so, you need to focus on patient education and emphasize the need for adherence. This can mean an increased need to keep a strict eye on the medications and dosages prescribed for patients. It would also mean you need strict protocols regarding medication administration while constantly emphasizing the need to adhere to medication times and dosages.

The Need for Diligence in Medication Management

Doctors prescribe medications for a reason. Medications play a key role in treating many acute and chronic health conditions. But they only benefit a patient if they take them diligently.

For example, if someone with diabetes does not take their prescribed medication, they could see their blood sugar levels acting up. Consistently elevated blood sugar levels could result in permanent damage to blood levels, the nerves, the kidneys, and even the eyes. On the other hand, low blood sugar levels could result in concentration issues, drowsiness, and numbness. If blood sugar levels stay low for a long period, it could result in seizures or even comas. In rare instances, it could result in death.

Another example is a patient with hypertension, or high blood pressure. If patients do not follow the correct medication protocols, they could suffer serious consequences like a heart attack.

But medication management is more than just highlighting the need to take medications as prescribed. In addition, you as the healthcare provider, may decide to add medications or increase or decrease the dosage of existing medications, depending on a patient's health needs. You may also need to know any potential side effects of a patient’s medications and follow up on that. This could mean either changing medications or dosages until such time as you have determined a patient’s unique medication protocol.

Why Patients Veer Off from Prescribed Medication Protocols

Patients may often refuse to acknowledge the severity of their situation and doubt the need for the medications prescribed. They may say they feel fine, so why should they continue with medications if there is nothing wrong with them? Yet their condition may significantly worsen before they once more experience symptoms. This state could have been prevented had they carried on with the medications as prescribed by their healthcare provider.

Patients may also stop take medications because they feel that they have seen no betterment in their health. Or they may experience side effects. Had they understood the need to talk to their healthcare provider about this, they would have understood how the medication works and that they should contact their doctor in the case of side effects. This would have resulted in dosage or medication changes.

In some cases, patients may worry that they become addicted to a medication. People suffering from depression, for example, may often use this as a reason to stop taking their medication.

Other times, patients may struggle to afford medication or follow-up visits.

Creating A Medication Management Plan in Your Healthcare Practice

Creating a medication management plan for your patients makes everyone's life easier. This plan should include all medications used, the dosages, and frequency of use.

But the onus of compiling this list need not rest with the healthcare provider. Instead, you can task someone on your team with undertaking this task. A medical virtual assistant proves a valuable asset in this type of scenario.

Patients also often use over-the counter drugs without their healthcare provider knowing. Prescribed medications could interact with these drugs. As a healthcare provider, you can take this into account when prescribing medications.

Another task your medical virtual assistant can assist with is checking on patients to find out whether they adhere to their treatment plan. Nonadherence could result in their condition worsening and thus increase their medical costs.

Many people may try to hide their nonadherence from their healthcare provider. Yet they often open up to someone else. By talking to patients in a non-threatening manner, your virtual assistant may get them to open up about their nonadherence. They may feel they have a good reason for not sticking to the plan. The prescribed medication may have adverse side effects, for example. A virtual assistant can enlighten you about these issues so that you can address them as and when needed.

Furthermore, a medication management plan should also include an educational aspect. A follow-up call, for example, where someone explains the need for a medication while letting a patient know that they should contact your office in the case of certain side effects clarifies to patients what they should do. A patient needs to understand they can contact your office if they have questions.

The Benefits of Medication Management

Medication management in a healthcare practice has five main benefits.

Collaboration

Explaining the need for certain medications to patients as well as taking note of and acting on any adverse effects results in collaboration. Once patients feel involved in their healing process, their likelihood of sticking to their treatment protocol increases.

Patients need to understand that finding the correct medication and dosage may not happen immediately. Certain medications, for example, may work well for some people but not others. Both doctor and patient need to work together in order to develop a unique medication management plan that works for the patient.

Reduced Risk of Side Effects

Taking more medications increases the risk of interactions between them. By regularly reviewing the medications a patient takes, you can make informed decisions regarding further treatment. You can also help educate your patients on what may interact with their medications.

Convenience

When someone is responsible for keeping the list of medications taken by a patient up to date, the healthcare provider can make better judgments about treatment. It makes it easier when deciding to add or remove certain medications, as well as determining the best medications to prescribe in the event of a different health issue cropping up.

Decreases Medication Errors

Proper medication management reduces the risk of medication errors on the patient's side. Because they understand their condition and how their medication will help in their recovery, patients become less likely to stop using medications or use them incorrectly. This may reduce their risk of hospitalization and help with their recovery.

Improved Patient Outcomes

Medication management involves proper monitoring of a patient’s progress. Because they take their medications as prescribed, and any side effects are reported and acted upon, their health issues may improve if they have a chronic condition. Those with a short-term illness may also recover quicker.

Why Hire a Medical Virtual Assistant to Undertake Medication Management

Medication management should ideally be entrusted to one person in your practice. Yet most healthcare practices see their staff members taking on various responsibilities. And hiring one person for this type of job in an in-house setting could prove costly. You would have to take benefits, like holidays or sick leave, into consideration as well.

Hiring a medical virtual assistant to undertake this job has a plethora of benefits:

  • You need not ensure that they have a dedicated workspace in your practice.
  • Your practice pays them only for the work they do – and you need not take any benefits into consideration. The agency takes care of that.
  • These professionals have their own equipment.
  • They already have the necessary background and training to take on the task.

How A Cool Blue VA Medical Virtual Assistant Can Take Care of Your Medication Management

Most of our virtual assistants have some form of medical training and have received HIPAA training. They can enter and update all patient medical information in eClinicalWorks. This ensures that you, as the healthcare provider, have the latest patient information during a patient visit. Plus, there is so much more you can entrust to your medical virtual assistant!

If you would like to know how we can help you with your medication management or the other services we offer, contact us at Cool Blue VA today. Our contact number is 714-695-8000. We will gladly answer any questions you may have about medication management and the various virtual assistant solutions we offer.

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