Doctors taking patients off medications?

KEY TAKEAWAY:  Physicians could start reviewing the medications that patients are prescribed and suggest products that patients don’t really need in an effort to help them manage their health.

Late last week I got an interesting email from my doctor asking me to come in to review the medications that I take for my nerve damage (bike crash) and cholesterol.  The email said that the goal was to ensure that patients were being “over prescribed” some medications which the patients doesn’t really need.  When I talked to her, she said “too many patients are on too many medications for too long”.  She went on to say “for example, some patients may not to be on statins for years, the less medications they take the better chance of full compliance”.

I went on to ask her about the rising cost of patient co-pays with patients to which she replied “patients are asking what my co-pay is going to be on certain medications and really want to keep that cost low”.  She went on to say “I often have to tell patients that if the co-pay is too big call me and I’ll prescribe something else”.

What in the wide world of sports is a goin’ on here?

Recent research has shown that Millennials are more interested in tele-health than other segments and why not?  They have grown up experiencing health care as a visit to the doctor’s office followed by an Rx.  They feel that could all be done online without wasting time.  Maybe doctors have heard that message loud and clear and instead of just diagnosing the condition, they want to start relationships with patients?

In the research that I have led or attended HCP’s biggest concern around online health is that it could allow a potentially dangerous health problem to get worse.  One doctor told us of a patient who went online to get antibiotics for the a nagging cough only to find out later that she had pneumonia and had to be hospitalized.

Another doctor said that she took a patient off statins after she had been taking them for over 10 years only to find that her cholesterol was fine without the medication.  “It’s a fine line which requires either at home health monitoring or follow-up tests a doctor told me. “I wouldn’t, for example, want to take a chance of taking a patient off their blood pressure medications without either that patient monitoring his blood pressure at home or following-up with him on a regular basis”.

Could this trend expand?  “If more people are monitoring their health via at home or wearable devices I don’t see why not” said a thought leader.  A device can, in some instances, be better than an Rx”.