6 problems with current medication management practices

Medication management issues are commonplace among many of us on medications and those of us caring for someone on medications. These issues have been accepted as the status quo and have become an undesirable expectation with any form of medication management. We explore six of the current problems that define the current accepted notions of medication management.

Maintain a paper list that you have to constantly get rid of and renew

The current way to keep lists is by writing them down on paper. People often visit their healthcare professional or go to the hospital with a written list. This list has a current record of their medications that often is not complete and is susceptible to being written incorrectly during transcription.

There are many causes for concern in this sequence of events. Paper lists aren’t long enough to store all the medication changes that are made for most people. These changes are often frequent and many. They also can’t cater for the common occurrence of temporary introduction of new medications without having to annoyingly rewrite the whole list over and over again.

Remember changes to dosing and then re-write the entire list

Patients often have to change medication doses according to their situation. Health fluctuates, so to keep up using a paper list people are in for a nightmare rollercoaster chasing little pieces of paper that includes the manual to their wellbeing.

The pressure of having to constantly worry about this part of healthcare can easily push people to the brink of exhaustion. Not to mention the already difficult situation of living with the illness in the first place.

Take pictures of medications that you then have to scroll through your album to find

We’re not the first people to get annoyed with paper lists. Others have tried to take matters into their own hands and started to take pictures of their medications so that they can show it to their health professional. As with most of us, by the time we’ve made our way to our appointments, there have been many more pictures taken and memories created.

Upon trying to show your healthcare provider you’ve got to scroll through a long-list of images, videos and documents to find what you’re looking for. Imagine you have multiple medications and you have to do that for every single one of them? And what about the fact that your medications change, this could soon become the full-time job you never asked for!

Translate through someone or hope to find a translator at your healthcare provider

People from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds often have a tough time navigating their medical problems in Australia and other English speaking nations. The health system has tried to cater for this ever-increasing need and has managed to come up with a few solutions.

These solutions typically come in the form of a professional translator or a family member acting as a translator, which can sometimes not be in the best interest of the patient. There are also some technological solutions being trialled at certain hospitals, but they are still on a per request basis.

Carer/Guardian has to be with you all the time to keep track of your meds

There are many of us that are heavily reliant on a carer/guardian for our healthcare and to help us get our medications in order. This can be a daunting task, especially if it means taking away from personal time and other commitments. Being a carer isn’t a burden, but it definitely takes its toll on your personal aspirations.

Those being cared for are not unaware of this fact and would gladly welcome a solution that helps them gain some independence and gives their carers some more personal time.

Health professionals to chase multiple sources to put together a med list

While carers/guardians are running around trying to get the patient ready and helping them with their care, health professionals like doctors and pharmacists are following up medication records and the information given to them.

After health professionals receive medication information, they chase up your local pharmacist, GP, specialists and others involved in your care to ensure they get an accurate medication list. This is a time-consuming process that is taking away valuable expertise from their primary roles of helping patients.

They can’t work off a medication list that is constantly changing and can’t be considered a true record of your medication history. 


2 thoughts on “6 problems with current medication management practices


    Years ago, I trained racehorses, and it was a requirement for me to maintain a register of medication administered to my horses, topically, orrally, and injected. with the medication identified, the quantity administered, and when it was administered. I think a similar approach should apply with people, where this register is presented to the GP, so he doesn’t over prescribe, by knowing what the patient is already taking, and also presented to the pharmacy when filling prescriptions, so they know they are not over supplying the patient. Some elderly patients may not be aware of what constituents are in some medications. With both the GP and pharmacist, checking regularly, one would hope this would reduce the risk of overuse of prescription drugs.

  2. rashid elhawli

    @Daryl Bryde I think it’s interesting to see how this would work. The only real issues I see is that with racehorses they are not as mobile and frequent as patients would be in a GP clinic or chemist.
    I think it would help if people could keep track of their medications themselves and simply share this information with their healthcare professionals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *