6 ways to better manage your medications

Problematic medication management is a reason for too many unnecessary complications in our health system. It also stands as a serious economic burden resulting in over 1.4 billion dollars spent on rectifying these complications, in Australia alone. The World Health Organisation has also realised the seriousness of the matter, proposing a global target of 50% medication harm risk reduction in the next 5 years.

Below we propose the necessary elements of any solution that will help us reach this target: (if you haven’t seen what the problems are first, be sure to read all about them here:

A securely stored smart list that can be easily updated

The currently accepted paper list works fine, but is a thorn in the side of many, particularly when it comes to making changes. Any updates to this kind of list requires an annoying amount of work that may require you to write up a completely new one.

Keeping track of your medications, in turn your health, should be as seamless as possible. That’s why the best solution is to have it stored in a single place where it can be easily updated. This is what we’ll call a smart medlist. A medlist on your phone that allows you to make changes on the go without having to double and triple handle information from your health professionals.

Show healthcare professional the medication that needs updating and simply change values

When you see a healthcare professional, be it in a gp clinic, in hospital, at a specialist clinic, their minds are typically running at a million miles an hour with many having to care for tens of patients just like yourself. As you can imagine, they at times can become pre-occupied and as a result may not be able to give you their full attention for the complete amount of time you need. Especially when it comes to explaining your medication regimen and how you’ve been taking your medications, or not taking them.

Instead of having to explain the entire story and worrying about missing details that often can lead to complications, have it recorded and ready. A smart medlist that already has all the information about your current medication regimen, including doses and frequency will improve your chances at receiving the best medical care and make it easier for your healthcare professional to help you. In fact, they may even be able to make the changes for you right there, on the spot. Wouldn’t that be nice!

Taking pictures of each medication and saving it within the medication record

When you come to record a medication, there are a lot of details that others don’t understand are necessary to its correct administration. There are things like route of administration, dosage, frequency and timing. This can be alot to remember and can lead to mistakes even when transcribing into a medlist.

A great way of saving ourselves that hassle, is by simply taking a picture of the front and back of the medication administered. Medications will typically have a label explaining all the above, hence saving you the anxiety of having to remember all the nitty gritty details that in many cases are essential to peoples’ health.

Translating information to the language you like

We live in an increasingly global environment where communicating between countries is becoming much simpler. Most services allow for easy automatic translation of information that you are looking for, and your health should be no different. Why should you be limited in the quality of healthcare you receive simply because you speak a different language? Access to adequate healthcare is a basic human right that should be afforded to everybody and medication management is no exception.

Many English speaking nations are comprised of large numbers of non-English speaking people or those of non-English speaking backgrounds. In order to provide quality healthcare to everybody, language shouldn’t be a barrier, especially in our day and age.

Medication profile that is shareable, especially with carers

Many people require the assistance of a carer, be it their child, parents or otherwise. This assistance is part and parcel of many people’s healthcare. Therefore facilitating the sharing of this information helps us achieve what is the ultimate goal of any healthcare function, achieving the best possible patient outcome.

This medication profile also helps with tracking medications. Patient medication management is enhanced manifold, particularly when they know that someone they trust can easily monitor their medication regimen, without having to necessarily be with them in person for all their healthcare interactions.

It also helps you keep the most up to date medication records available in more than one place, which is particularly important in the case of an emergency. Patients with carers are heavily reliant on them for their overall medical well-being and in turn their health. So it makes sense that carers are just as up to date with the medication record as the individual themselves.

Send an automatically generated email of your up-to-date, time-stamped profile to your health professional

To improve communication between patients and healthcare professionals, it is crucial that they have the most up-to-date information upon which they can act. Therefore a system that allows you, with the click of a button, to update your healthcare professional on your current medication status is priceless and saves healthcare professionals a helluva lot of time.

They are free to focus on caring for patients rather than chasing up an updated version of their medication list. They also save time on cross-checking which is a cumbersome task that takes up more time than it needs to. The ability to have this information easily converted into a universally accepted form of communication such as email, will drastically improve an age-old problem of miscommunication and misunderstanding between patients and healthcare professionals.

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