It’s an average afternoon at your new, medically integrated practice. Everyone on staff is on the same page; team meetings and office collaboration are going fabulously.
Then it happens – the patient visit that fortifies in your mind the reason you decided to go with medical integration.
You and your medical doctor walk into a treatment room to talk with a patient. She briefly describes what’s ailing her.
“So, do you have a list of medications that you’re on,” your doctor asks the woman.
“Yes,” the woman says, rather proud of herself for having the foresight to come prepared. “I wrote it down. Here’s my list of problems and complaints and here’s my list of medications.”
Your doctor looks at the lists and says: “Let me tell you the order these occurred in. First, you have this complaint and you were prescribed this drug. Then you had this complaint, and you were prescribed this drug.”
Item by item he goes through her long list as the woman’s eyes widen.
“That’s amazing,” she exclaims. “How did you know all that?”
“Because if you quit taking all your medications, you’d be back to your first complaint.”
As comically unpleasant that office visit may appear, it is more commonplace than most of us may want to acknowledge.
Throwing Drugs at the Problem
Nearly half of Americans used prescription drugs in 2015, according to a federal survey released last year.
Here are the numbers:
- 5 million of Americans 12 and over used pain relievers (36.4 percent)
- 3 million used tranquilizers (14.7 percent)
- 2 million used stimulants (6.4 percent)
- 6 million used sedatives (6.9 percent)