Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Brown Bag Review

Managing patients' medications is an ongoing struggle. One way to keep track of their pills is to ask them to bring all their bottles in to an office visit. This has been called the "brown bag review," and is something I do frequently. It is often very helpful. Not only do I get the chance to verify what medications are being taken, but I can also confirm doses and refill status. On occasion, I also find it helpful to count the pills that are left in the bottles and compare them with my records; great way to confirm compliance.

The thing is, virtually everyone uses white plastic grocery bags to bring in their bottles. They're bigger, stronger and infinitely more available. They certainly accomplish the stated aim, but now and then I enjoy teasing my patients by complaining that no one follows directions anymore: how can I do a "brown bag" review when I'm continually presented with bags that are white plastic instead of brown paper?

Well just this morning, a lovely older couple who have been in my practice for many years (and to whom I've previously complained about white plastic bags) gently teased me back: they went out of their way to find an actual brown paper bag in which to bring their medications.

Finally! Someone who listens!


At Sat Aug 30, 12:17:00 AM, Blogger Dreaming again said...

I am on about 24 medications and not one single doctor has asked me to do this

At Sat Aug 30, 04:40:00 AM, Blogger Elaine said...

On the other side of the pond it would be a difficult request to fulfil as brown paper bags are almost non-existent.

At Sat Aug 30, 10:33:00 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

oh dino, I'd think you'd be happy to have them bring in their meds for review even if they came in shoe boxes. How many people comply with your request to bring their meds in for review, and are you really confident they didn't leave something at home they don't want you to know about?

At Mon Sep 01, 04:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My patients generally use ziplock bags. Actually almost all of them do. And many of them resent the exercise, but generally go along with it when I explain that the only exceptions are a written list or memorized meds.

At Fri Sep 05, 12:55:00 AM, Blogger Dreaming again said...

Most of my docs do ask for a written list, but not all.

But none have ever taken the time to even say bring them in, lets go over them so I can see if you're taking them, missing any ...etc.

At Sun Sep 07, 11:44:00 AM, Blogger ANATOTITAN said...

WOW, what a fantastic idea. I think I would drop dead of shock if my doc even thought of that, let alone suggested it AND took time to do it.


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