Hospitals versus medication adherenceJeremy Whiteley
It isn’t really fair to say Hospitals versus medication adherence. But, if you are fully adherent but you’re much more likely to be able to stay out of a hospital. If you’ve had a stay in the hospital recently, your adherence can certainly reducing the chances of your going back in.
I was reading a brief put out by the NEHI regarding readmissions into hospitals. The article is entitled “Improving Medication Adherence and Reducing Readmissions.” I find it a bit worrisome.
My issue is certainly not with the NEHI. Their charter is to improve health care and lower the costs. (Their masthead says so.) The brief points out that about 20% of Medicare patients that get discharged after a hospital stay gets readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. There are lots of ways of reducing the costs involved with putting a Medicare patient back into the hospital. The medical staff needs to become more involved with the patient, along with the patient’s physician, and other caregivers, during the transition from hospital to home care. Many of these patients feel better for the few days following their discharge from the hospital and so they forget to take their meds as prescribed. They may forget to stop at the pharmacy on the way home. The trouble is that they have to go back into the hospital.
Here’s the part that I really object to… the new government reforms (Obamacare) penalizes the hospitals for these readmissions. Yes, there is patient and doctor responsibility involved, but I don’t feel the government should be making the hospital staff have to think twice about readmitting a patient at the point when the patient most needs their help. The staff shouldn’t have to consider traumatizing a patient about doing the right thing at their point of their serious need to obtain medical help. It is, in all probability, a medical emergency.
Some responsibility needs to be taken by the hospital staff to counsel the patient about how they can be helpful and how to reach medical staff if there is an emergency. Patients and their caregivers must also take responsibility for their own Medication Adherence. It’s very simple: medications don’t work if the patients don’t take them. Physician’s don’t typically write scripts for meds when a patient doesn’t need them. You have to take your meds exactly as their doctor directs. It’s pretty simple. Remembering to take them is another matter. That’s not as simple.
I would advise you to read the NEHI brief to better understand the issue. I also advise that you go to MedTexter.com to set up your own personal medication management system so that you or your loved ones can remember to take your meds during these very difficult transitions.