Virtual Pill Box for Patient Medication Education

The personal medication record is a core element of standard medication therapy management.

The personal medication record (PMR) is a core element of standard medication therapy management. In order for a PMR to be useful, it must be a patient-focused, collaborative, accurate document.

As a practicing pharmacist in an outpatient pharmacy for a local community hospital, I have patients stop by on a daily basis to pick up a pack of 3, 6, or more prescriptions that they are being discharged with.

By this point, the hospital's nursing and pharmacy staff has done its best to educate the patients about their new medications. However, patients will often come to the pharmacy with a stack of 30 or more papers describing everything from follow-up appointments, to dietary counseling information, to postoperative wound care, to medication education.

Whenever I meet patients or family members in the counseling area, I ask if I may take a quick look at their discharge mediation instruction sheet. This paper lists not only the medications the patient was taking at admission, but also the drugs they will be taking when they arrive home.

This is an excellent opportunity to perform a quick medication reconciliation, assuring that there are no discrepancies between the discharge medication instruction sheet and the prescriptions we are filling for them to pick up and take home.

While I'm at the pharmacy counter with the patient, I like to describe how we are going to create a simple PMR, which I like to call a virtual pill box.

I briefly recreate the scenario in which they were handed a stack of papers prior to discharge, understanding that this process may have felt a bit overwhelming. Then, I discuss a plan for taking all of that information about medication dosing and putting it onto a single piece of paper. The counseling session is complete when patients describe back to me how they are going to use their virtual pill box to manage their medications at home.

I'm always overwhelmed by the joy I see in patients' eyes when I take a moment to help them create this simple document.

This tool is incredibly simple to use and may be implemented during any visit to the pharmacy, or anytime a patient has a change in his or her medication regimen.

Download this resource to your computer and use it often: