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MEDS: Making Prescriptions Easier to Talk About with Doctors

PHOTO: MEDS, which stands for My Easy Drug System, is a way to encourage dialogue between a patient and doctor or pharmacist about the medications they're taking and how they feel about them. Photo credit: Chris Thomas.
PHOTO: MEDS, which stands for My Easy Drug System, is a way to encourage dialogue between a patient and doctor or pharmacist about the medications they're taking and how they feel about them. Photo credit: Chris Thomas.
December 23, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - If you're spending the holidays with a loved one who takes multiple prescription medications, there's a simple new way they can keep track of what they're taking and why.

The My Easy Drug System (MEDS) was designed to prompt conversation between patients and their doctor or pharmacist about their prescriptions. The one-page form is available online and free to anyone.

James Slater, director of pharmacy services for CareOregon, says patients can start with the name of the drug and the dosage.

"And then right underneath, they're asked to write what they take it for," he says. "Many people lose track of why they're taking a medication, for what condition, and unfortunately that's not often on the medication bottle. And it's really important, because that helps them work on side effects and know which medicines fit together."

The form also asks a person to describe how they feel about taking each medication, and how they think it's working. MEDS was developed after focus groups told CareOregon that patients needed help with giving feedback and asking questions about their prescriptions.

Slater says there often isn't time in a typical doctor visit for an in-depth discussion about prescription drugs, or the topic doesn't come up and prescriptions are automatically refilled. The MEDS form boils information down to the basics.

"A 'smiley face' if they're doing great and they're happy about the medicine, and a 'frowny face' if they're fearful or they have a question, or it's not going well," says Slater. "There's also an 'in-between face' if they're not sure, they're indifferent, or don't know how to tell if they're doing good or bad."

The form also has room for the healthcare provider to respond. Slater recommends patients who fill out the form and realize they have a number of questions make a special appointment with their doctor to focus on those concerns.

The form is online at www.careoregon.org/meds.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR