Having too many docs poses risk for seniors

September 25, 2006

According to an analysis of prescription drug alerts conducted by Medco Health Solutions, the greater the number of physicians seen by a patient over age 65, the greater the number of prescriptions the patient fills, and, thus, the greater risk for dangerous drug errors.

According to an analysis of prescription drug alerts conducted by Medco Health Solutions, the greater the number of physicians seen by a patient over age 65, the greater the number of prescriptions the patient fills, and, thus, the greater risk for dangerous drug errors. Seniors receiving prescriptions from two different physicians filled an average of 27 scripts in a year and were at risk for 10 potential prescription drug errors. And, when the care team consisted of five doctors, the number of prescriptions filled in one year nearly doubled, to 42, and the number of potential drug errors increased 60%, to 16. The error rate continued to rise significantly for seniors with up to 10 doctors. The study also noted that patients over age 65 consistently experienced a drug error rate approximately seven times greater than that of patients younger than 65. The analysis reviewed prescription drug claims between January and December 2004 of 2.4 million insured adults.

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