Accurate medical reconciliation, or the ability to compile a precise list of medications a patient is taking, would inevitably save hundreds of lives each year. According to information from the FDA presented in an article from Managed Healthcare Executive, the total healthcare costs the U.S. spends every year on adverse drug reactions is “more than the total cost of cardiovascular or diabetic care.”
We’ve all heard that taking an aspirin a day will prevent heart disease. However, older adults should actually be discouraged from using aspirin in this manner. In the article, Dr. Steven Lobel, Ph.D., D-ABMLI, MBA, FACB, laboratory director at LifeBrite Laboratories, discusses the issues that arise from this misconception and what physicians can do to curtail future injuries.
A lack of proper medication reconciliation
Dr. Lobel explains that patients are confused about the use of aspirin because “for years, clinicians recommended regular aspirin use for older adults regardless of heart disease risk.” He suggests that “as we experience the transformative shift to value-based healthcare models, a significant opportunity exists for healthcare executives to incorporate innovative medication reconciliation and precision medicine techniques into their practice that provide better clinical decision support, increase patient data availability, and improve the accuracy of drugs.”
Elderly patients have a difficult time reporting to their physicians a complete list of all the medications they are taking. Whether it’s a long list of medications or they are experiencing memory issues, the elderly sometimes inadvertently leave off their full list of meds when asked to disclose them, which can result in drug interactions by not showing the full picture.
Dr. Lobel suggests that difficulties in proper medication reconciliation and management are due to a “fragmented U.S. healthcare delivery system and failure to effectively share and leverage patient care data.” These difficulties primarily affect patients 65 and older who “are more than twice as likely as middle-aged patients and nearly three times more likely than patients between 25 and 44 to experience adverse drug reactions serious enough to send them to a doctor or an ER.”
Dr. Lobel suggests that the solution is to utilize “chronic care management laboratory panels . . . designed to objectively reconcile medications for patients taking one or more prescriptions and/or over the counter medications.” Dr. Lobel explains that this would be significant because “even for patients that don’t report aspirin use, physicians can be armed with accurate data to make appropriate medical decisions regarding the patient’s health and treatment regimen.”
Pharmacogenomics is crucial to precision medicine, as it studies how an individual will react to different drug therapies based on their genes (genotype). Dr. Lobel explains, “The pharmacogenomic approach provides valuable guidance on drug selection and dosage, making it possible to determine the right dose, for the right patient, at the right time.”
Dr. Lobel goes on to say, “healthcare providers and leaders should utilize the innovative techniques at their disposal and leverage strong support partners to identify drug safety signals as early as possible, thus minimizing potential clinical and economic consequences for patients.”
Learn more about pharmacogenomics and the experts at LifeBrite Laboratories:
LifeBrite Labs is an accredited medical laboratory based in Atlanta, GA. We provide laboratory testing services, including toxicology, chemistry testing, and molecular pathology. In addition to delivering results, we work with health care professionals to implement cost-effective medication monitoring solutions. LifeBrite Laboratories was voted the best lab in Atlanta in 2016 and 2017.
Our laboratory serves health care organizations across the United States. Whether your practice is primary care, pain management, substance abuse recovery, or OB/GYN, we can provide the information needed for the diagnosis and treatment of each patient. The LifeBrite Labs team handles every sample with the utmost care while working to deliver accurate results in a timely manner. To learn more about LifeBrite Laboratories, visit our homepage.