Survey Reveals Patients’ Concerns about Medication-Related Issues

> Being given two or more medications that interact in a negative way (70%),

> Being given the wrong medicine (69%),

> Cost of treatment (69%),

> Complications from the medical procedure such as an infection (69%),

> Potential harmful side effects from taking a medication (67%), and

> Cost of prescriptive medicine (67%).

Survey respondents were asked to indicate their level of concern for 10 health issues related to their care in a hospital or health system.

“This study illustrates that medication-related issues are a real concern for many patients,” said ASHP President Debra Devereaux, MBA, FASHP. “That makes it especially important for patients to know that they can turn to the pharmacist to answer their questions about medications.”

Three-fourths of respondents believed that speaking to a pharmacist would help address some of the 10 health concerns mentioned. The vast majority of respondents (90 percent) said they would talk to the pharmacist about their medication if the opportunity were made available with their health system. About a quarter (23 percent) of the respondents surveyed recalled speaking with a pharmacist while in a hospital, clinic or nursing home.

“The fact is, pharmacists play an integral role in preventing the problems that concern patients most,” said Devereaux. “Pharmacists work closely with physicians and other health care providers in health systems. We are uniquely qualified to counsel patients about the safest, most effective ways to use today’s powerful and complex drugs.”

The survey also found that women were more likely than men to be concerned about these common health issues. Women were significantly more concerned about complications from medical procedures, the cost of prescription medicines, the ability to control pain, and not knowing how to use their medications correctly after leaving the health system.

Eighty-three percent of respondents said they would be interested in having a pharmacist work closely with them and their physician to monitor how well their medication is working. The vast majority (93 percent) of respondents who were interested in having a pharmacist monitor their medication said they would support this as a new Medicare benefit.

RX Highlights: Department of Pharmacy Services Newsletter, October, 2006