Simple intervention helps doctors communicate better when prescribing medications
When it comes to prescribing medications to their patients, physicians could use a dose of extra training, according to a new study led by a UCLA researcher.
In previous studies, Dr. Derjung Tarn and her colleagues found that when doctors prescribed medicines, the information they provided to patients was spotty at best, they rarely addressed the cost of medications and they didn't adequately monitor their patients' medication adherence.
The logical next step, Tarn said, was to devise an intervention aimed at improving how physicians communicate to their patients five basic facts about a prescribed medication: the medication's name, its purpose, the directions for its use, the duration of use and the potential side effects. And it appears to have worked.
Tarn and her co-researchers found that physicians who completed the training demonstrated a significant improvement in how they communicated this crucial information. Compared to a control group that didn't receive the training, these doctors discussed at least one additional topic out of the five—and they sometimes went beyond the basics, touching on other pertinent facts about medications that are important for patients to know.
The intervention is described in the January issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine.
"We were pleasantly surprised to see that a simple intervention was effective in improving the content of discussions," said Tarn, the study's lead author and assistant professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
The researchers conducted a controlled clinical trial between February 2009 and February 2010 with 27 primary care physicians and 256 patients. The training consisted of a one-hour interactive educational session that encouraged doctors to communicate the five basic facts about prescribed medications. The researchers also gave the participating patients a flier listing the five facts. In addition, they recorded the audio of the physician–patient interactions. The success of the physicians' communication of the key facts to patients was measured using the Medication Communication Index, or MCI.
The researchers found that the mean MCI for the physicians in the intervention group was 3.95 out of five, compared with 2.86 for those physicians who didn't receive the training. The intervention-group doctors also received higher ratings from their patients on how they communicated information about medications than did the physicians in the control group.
And, significantly, the training resulted in more than just better communication about the medications the physicians prescribed, according to the study.
"Interestingly, higher MCI scores also were associated with more reports of communication about topics not directly included in the intervention," the researchers write. "For example, the intervention encouraged physicians to discuss potential medication side effects with patients, but patients also reported better communication about the risk of experiencing side effects and what to do if side effects occurred."
The study has some limitations. Patients were predominantly white, most had at least some college education, and there were more Hispanics than African Americans. Also, having an audio recorder in the examination room may have enhanced communication for physicians in the intervention group more than for those in the control group, who were unaware of what the researchers were studying. In addition, the researchers didn't examine the doctors' style of communication, and they don't know if any additional time spent talking about new prescriptions might have detracted from conversations about other topics.
Still, the study suggests "that a brief, practical intervention can improve physician communication about newly prescribed medications in ways that affect patients," the researchers write. "The intervention should be tested for its clinical impact."
Journal reference: Annals of Family Medicine
Provided by University of California, Los Angeles
- Physicians don't adequately monitor patients' medication adherence Jul 16, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Study: Getting patients to take their asthma meds Jun 15, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Shared decision-making between doctors and patients can reduce antibiotic use Jul 30, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Doctors can learn empathy through a computer-based tutorial Oct 31, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Communication is key to medication adherence Jan 02, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
When it comes to men's sexual health, dirty jokes may just be the best medicine. A QUT researcher is helping Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) use comedy and YouTube to deliver sexuality education to young ...
Health 29 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—International researchers are studying the salt intake of Indian adults to provide vital new data to aid the development of a national salt reduction strategy.
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Each day, an average of nine people are killed in the United States and more than 1,000 injured by drivers doing something other than driving.
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Bed sharing with parents is linked to a fivefold increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), even when the parents are non-smokers and the mother has not been drinking alcohol and does not use illegal drugs, according ...
Health 13 hours ago | 1.3 / 5 (3) | 0
Many people with implantable defibrillators can safely participate in vigorous sports according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
Health 13 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Injections of a sugar solution appear to help relieve knee pain and stiffness related to osteoarthritis, a new study suggests.
23 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at the School of Medicine have shown that their previously identified therapeutic approach to fight cancer via immune cells called macrophages also prompts the disease-fighting killer T cells ...
32 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Over the past few decades, scientists have developed many devices that can reopen clogged arteries, including angioplasty balloons and metallic stents. While generally effective, each of these treatments ...
27 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Obese and overweight men and women who suffer from heartburn often report relief when they lose weight, a new study shows.
13 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(HealthDay)—When it comes to the care of your children's teeth, dentists aren't the only experts who can help.
33 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—For patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), prolonged prone positioning during mechanical ventilation is associated with significantly reduced mortality at 28 and 90 days, ...
53 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0