Our Love-Hate Relationship with Medication

By NCQA on August 3, 2015 in Speaker Profiles

This blog is part of an ongoing series featuring spotlights on speakers at this year’s Quality Talks. Interested in attending? Register today.

Mary-Roth-McClurgIt’s a crisis. That’s how Mary Roth McClurg describes our nation’s love-hate relationship with the medicines we take.

McClurg says much of the $271 billion we spent on prescription drugs last year was wasted. She says for every dollar spent on drugs, another dollar is spent addressing a medication misadventure.

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“It doesn’t matter whether they’re college students, older people and neighbors, just anyone you meet—everybody has a story they can relate to around someone’s medications,” McClurg explains. “It’s just this pressure on people to understand what to do with their medications.”

So, McClurg has crafted a list of to-dos to improve the nation’s approach to medication management. The most striking of these may seem counterintuitive to what you just read, but she wants patients to assume more responsibility for their medications.

“We need people to better understand the nuances of their medications, including when to seek help and what questions to ask,” she says. “We need to empower them to get the answers they need.”

The fact is most folks don’t ask questions. They just take what they’re told to take.

McClurg admits changing the current culture may be easier said than done. And she admits there are not step-by-step instructions to help every patient adapt to the new culture she prescribes.

Still, she’ll tell her Quality Talks 2015 audience about bright spots where this approach is already at work. She’ll challenge providers to help patients help themselves. And she’ll explain why providers—or would-be providers—may need new marching orders before they greet their first patient.

Mary McClurg will ask the question, “How Do We Get Medications Right?”

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