Are Concierge Doctors Making Prescriptions Safer?
The foundation of any concierge medical practice is prevention. Preventive medicine is a powerful tool, which often allows chronic conditions to be caught before symptoms appear, lower risk factors for illness, and decrease the amount of medications a patient may need. With this being said, if a patient is required to be on medication, knowing that you can simply look into using the services a Canadian Pharmacy provide online may be easier. But it is best to speak to your doctor before going ahead with anything. Additionally, according to Concierge Medicine Today, preventive measures are categorically reducing the reliance that patients have on prescription medications and limiting drug non-compliance.
According to a recent interview between Concierge Medicine Today and a Fortune 500 Drug Corporation, patients who have a concierge physician are far less reliant on prescription medications than those patients at any traditional primary care or family practice. In some cases, concierge physicians can reduce the total amount of medication their patients intake by 50-95%, this according to surveys obtained from concierge/direct care physicians operating in the concierge medical movement across the U.S. [November 1, 2010 to February 1, 2011 – Internal Data © 2011].
This interview, along with a recent study conducted by the Concierge Medicine Research Collective and Concierge Medicine Today, is layered with possible implications for concierge physicians, as well as, patients and those who are considering entering this field. One outcome of a patient’s decreased reliance on medications is the simple fact that drug representatives are spending less time calling on concierge medical practices, thus freeing up even more of the staff’s time to focus on patients. According to the report, high-level executives within these drug companies have shifted their sales strategies to reduce the amount of time they’re spending with concierge practices, and increase that time to general practices.
The second, and most intriguing, implication from the study and drug company interview is that as concierge physicians are able to reduce the total amount of medication their patients take, physicians are also able to improve medication compliance.
In 2011, preliminary research was conducted by The Concierge Medicine Research Collective and Concierge Medicine Today. They found that among concierge physicians across the U.S., when physicians were asked to ‘ grade their concierge medical patients’ on medication compliance, ‘ 96.3% of the doctors indicated that 75% of their patients comply with prescription regimens all or most of the time, according to Concierge Medicine Today.
Medication compliance, according to TheFreeDictonary, is the reliability of the patient in using a prescribed medication exactly as ordered by the physician. Noncompliance occurs when a patient forgets or neglects to take the prescribed dosages at the recommended times or decides to discontinue the drug without consulting the physician.
Medication compliance, also known as drug compliance, is a huge issue for the medical industry, as well as the drug industry. Noncompliance can lead to health complications for the patient and can mean poor sales of prescriptions and refills for drug companies. In a recent study conducted by Center for Pharmaceutical Health Services Research from Temple University in Pennsylvania, researchers found the following:
– Approximately 125,000 people with treatable ailments die each year in the USA because they do not take their medication properly.
– 14% to 21% of patients never fill their original prescriptions.
– 60% of all patients cannot identify their own medications.
– 30% to 50% of all patients ignore or otherwise compromise instructions concerning their medication.
– Approximately one fourth of all nursing home admissions are related to improper self-administration of medicine.
– 12% to 20% of patients take other people’s medicines.
– Hospital costs due to patient noncompliance are estimated at $8.5 billion annually.
Concierge physicians have the available time to research the drugs they prescribe patients, which ultimately results in a greater explanation to each patient regarding prescription use, history, benefits and side effects. Concierge physicians are also available for more in-depth follow-ups to determine how the prescription is affecting the patient.
When concierge physicians were asked by Concierge Medicine Today: ‘Do you see a difference in how well concierge patients follow through and/or comply with taking prescription medications, as opposed to patients you’ve treated in a traditional practice?’ the following results were found:
- 67% of respondents indicated- A significant difference;
- 28% of respondents indicated- – Some, but not a big difference; and
- 6% of respondents indicated- – No difference at all.
When these same concierge doctors were asked ‘If you’ve noticed your concierge patients do better when taking their Rx meds, what do you think accounts for this change?’ we found the following results:
- 38% – I follow up personally to ask about medication use and side effects, and to encourage compliance.
- 28% – I spend more time explaining the importance of medication compliance.
- 28% – The patient has more confidence in my recommendations and will follow them.
- 7% – Other.
It’s clear that concierge physicians not only focus on preventing illness and recognizing early risk factors, but according to the results shown here, that they are also able to prevent prescription medication noncompliance by keeping patients on track.
With offices in Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia, SignatureMD (signaturemd.com) is one of the nation’s largest firms providing initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians. SignatureMD currently partners with over 200 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 35 states, and its network is rapidly expanding.