Information gaps among physicians and patients about medications

Information gaps among physicians and patients about medications

Hospital doctors often do not know exactly what medications their patients are already taking.

Particularly in the case of patients who need at least five medications at the same time, there is a lack of information that can have dangerous consequences, states the health insurance company barmer in its drug report, which it presented in berlin. Even the patients themselves were often unaware of the medications they were taking.

"It is incomprehensible that the admission to a hospital, as a process involving millions of patients, is so prone to error. This can be life threatening. Patients must be prevented from being harmed due to a lack of information," criticizes christoph straub, chairman of the barmer board of management. When patients are discharged from the hospital, there is often a lack of sufficient information for the doctors treating them.

One in three patients treated in a hospital with a different therapy had not received an updated medication plan there. Many respondents had stated that the new therapy had not been explained to them by the doctor. "A drug therapy can only be successful if the patient understands and supports it. To do this, they need to have them explained to them," says the author of the drug report, daniel grandt, chief physician at the saarbrucken hospital.

Every year, several million people are hospitalized for taking at least five medications at the same time. In 2017 alone, 2.8 million people nationwide were polypharmacy patients on the day they were admitted to hospital. According to the report, only 29 percent of patients had the standardized national medication plan, which is intended to prevent loss of information between physicians, when they were admitted to hospital. Since october 2016, every patient who regularly takes at least three medications has the right to such a plan. 17 percent do not have an up-to-date list of their medications. Existing plans were also often incomplete.

The cause of the information deficits is not so much the individual doctor, but rather the insufficiently organized and inadequately digitally supported process of cross-sector treatment, criticized straub. Barmer has therefore developed a concept for its policyholders to improve the flow of information.

According to barmer, around 2900 insured polypharmacy patients over the age of 65 and 150 gps were surveyed for the report.

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