- Seeing what medications the patient is already taking.
- Figuring out if a change is required.
- Picking the medication and making the change (or adding a new one).
Reviewing the list
As a family physician, I see people in my office with many chronic diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, depression, low back pain, obesity, etc.) who take quite a few medications. It's pretty common for somebody to have at least 10 chronic problems and 10 to 20 chronic medications. It's increasingly common for people to be on 3 or more blood pressure medications.
I need to refer to the medication list a few times during an office visit. Different versions of the list can make each task easier. Initially I look at the list to get an overview of what medications the person is taking.
What seems to be your problem today?Then I look to see what problems might be needing some attention. Review lab. Talk to the patient. Look at recent reports from the emergency room or other specialists. Review phone call notes.
- Is the blood pressure controlled?
- Are the latest lab results on target?
- Is a preventive service due? (mammograms, Pap smear, colonoscopy, oil change, tire rotation)
It's time for a change
Take your pick
Now you try it
- In the first screen, can you tell which medications are prescribed for high blood pressure (hypertension)?
- With the diagnoses visible, does it matter how the drug names are sorted?
- How much extra time does it take to find all the high BP medications in the different views?
- Can you tell if a medication dose is the maximum dose for that medication? (Hint: no, but I'll show you a cool way to do that in a later post.)