Q: My mother sees several different doctors for her medical care. How does one doctor know what medication the other doctor has prescribed?

A: One of the biggest problems we have in our health system today is accurate and timely information; this is especially true regarding the medications we use.

At each healthcare appointment, we are asked to provide or update information about our medical conditions and the medications that we use. Most patients/caregivers document this from memory. This is where the problems begin. Patients/caregivers usually forget the prescribed medications that are used only as needed. Other medications that are also frequently forgotten are the non-prescription or supplement mediations.

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Non-reported medications as well as the increasing number of medications contribute to the medication related problems. Medication related problems in seniors are a leading reason for their emergency rooms visits and their admissions to hospitals, nursing homes, or long term care facilities.

I recommend that each patient/caregiver maintain a comprehensive list of both their medical conditions and medications to assure that the information can be consistently provided to all healthcare providers (doctors, pharmacists, therapists, etc.) to keep them accurately and timely informed. If you visit my website, you with find an excellent form, Health ICE, (Health In Case of Emergency) that can assist in organizing the information that should be reported to healthcare providers.