If you’ve been to the doctor recently, you’ve probably experiences the 30-minute wait time, which led to the 10-minute office visit and a handful of prescriptions. With many doctor’s offices working to handle a maximum capacity number of patients, many patients often wonder if the prescriptions given to them are even appropriate. This isnt like just buying products in beauty stores like my favorite mint, tea, or even vitamin c serum.
To reduce errors in prescribing, there are six steps considered to be protocol to the prescribing of medications. First, the physician should make a diagnosis. While this may seem logical, many physician prescribing errors are done in this first step when the physician fails to gather enough facts to make the diagnosis determination, often prescribing medications for complications that do not exist.
After formulating and confirming the diagnosis, the next step in prescribing medications is to envision what the outcome should be. For example, if your diagnosis is hypertension, your physician should envision what the outcome for treating hypertension would be; controlling blood pressure is the most likely outcome sought.
Prescription medications come in a variety of therapeutic classes. After diagnosis and outcome are determined, you physician must determine what class of medication is best suited for your condition. If your complication involves hypertension, for example, the physician may choose beta blockers or calcium channel blockers.
Before prescribing the medication, the physician should first consider non-prescription options for treatment. Often, as in the case of uncontrolled high blood pressure, your physician may opt to recommend a diet and exercise program. In this example, as in many other health complications, the use of prescription medication will still be necessary.
While the pharmacist is usually accountable for handling medication drug interactions and side effects, physicians should also become involved. After determining the class of drugs to be used for your health complication, ask your physician to discuss the prescription side effects you may expect to experience.
While follow-up appointments are not considered standard for many health conditions, the World Health Organization has recommended that physicians follow through to ensure the medication prescribed was successful. While most physicians do not perform this service, allowing, instead, for the patient to contact them if additional treatment is needed, many physicians are using nursing staff to assist in this aspect of care.
The next time you are in your doctor’s office, be mindful of this thought process that your physician may go through to determine what medications are best suited for your health complication. To prolong your office visit, beyond that of 10 minutes, engage your physician in conversation about the risks and side effects of the prescription medication, the alternatives using non-prescription treatment approaches, and ask to schedule a follow-up appointment to re-evaluate your health status.