Internal Medicine doctors have a lot to think about. They provide a broad range of care to treat a wide variety of medical conditions—from common to rare, straightforward to obscure, acute to chronic. So what keeps them up at night? With all the complexities involved in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases, when two Internists got together recently, medication management was at the top of their list of concerns.
“Managing medications is probably one of the toughest things we do as Internists, and it’s a challenge that comes up daily, whether we’re in the clinic or the hospital,” said Jake Lancaster, M.D., M.H.A., Chief Medical Information Officer at Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis.
Dr. Lancaster recently interviewed Colin Banas, M.D., M.H.A., Chief Medical Officer of DrFirst and a former Internal Medicine Hospitalist at VCU Health System in Richmond, Virginia, for This Week Health’s TownHall podcast.
“I remember patient records being on paper, and I vividly recall the day we transitioned to a modern EHR,” said Dr. Banas. “There was a button that would let me access what was called external medication history, which was really a lot of claims data. That was a godsend because when we were working on paper, we had nothing except the patient interview and maybe a bag of pill bottles. Now, we finally had access to data.”
Unfortunately, Drs. Lancaster and Banas agreed that even with new technology, they still need to ask themselves if patient medication histories are missing details that can mean the difference between informed clinical decisions and potential medication errors:
- Are there duplicates or omissions in the patient’s medication list in the EHR?
- Does the list include medications the patient purchased with cash or from an independent pharmacy?
- Are the prescribing instructions (sigs) complete and accurate?
Watch the video to hear how complete medication data and artificial intelligence are filling in these gaps to help Internists and other clinicians provide the best possible care and keep patients safe.