I saw an Aetna advertisement for its online personal health record (PHR) tool last Thursday on NBC and last night on CBS. The brief advertisement showed a woman inputting information about an over the counter (OTC) prescription into her online PHR and then the PHR responds with a warning about a potential conflict between the OTC drug and a prescription drug that also was recorded on the PHR. The ad explains that the warning also is sent to the woman’s doctor. Should the alert be sent directly to the doctor? This creates additional work and liability for the doctor, and it strikes me that the patient should be making the call on whether to consult the doctor. It may be that the patient has been taking both drugs for a long time without any side effects.
In all likelihood the warning to the doctor is an optional feature of the Aetna tool, but I am always interested in the second bounce of the ball. I read an editorial in the AMA News last week about the medical community’s dissatisfaction with e-prescribing 1.0. One of the complaints was too many drug interaction warnings.