When my Mom was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease two years ago, everything changed. You see, we’re an Italian family who celebrates, grieves, and gathers in the name of food. Sunday Family Dinners are capitalized in our world. We lived to eat. But an extended hospital stay for our matriarch and a required strict diet was enough to scare us into know-better. Flipping to a family who eats to live was hard, and we’ve yet to master the art of skipping dessert, but we’re trying.
Interestingly, and very frustratingly, eating healthier wasn’t the biggest obstacle for us. My mom quickly learned that different medications work against each other and wreak havoc on her body. An over-the-counter pain reliever would mess with her prescriptions and she would feel like a truck hit her. This was obviously of concern to her and our family, so we relied on the doctors to allay our fears. What made me want to punch puppies was the very nonchalant manner in which said doctors regarded our questions and concerns.
We all know you’re familiar with the whole “trial and error” of Crohn’s, but when you have a new patient and she’s scared and confused and frustrated, please muster up as much compassion and patience as possible. Every person is different, please treat them as such. Take the time to answer questions and don’t roll your eyes when medical marijuana is suggested. Oh and if the person answering your phones sighs with exasperation when a patient calls for the third time that week, I will take her down to Chinatown because NO. Her job is to say hello, take a message, and thank you goodbye. DO NOT GIVE ME AN ATTITUDE.
Patients who are sick of your crap (no pun intended, although SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!)
So it came to pass that my Mom actually didn’t have to rely on the real doctors (or Dr. Google <– bad, bad idea) to check on her med combos. Enter: CVS.com Drug Information Center. Instead of waiting until her next appointment or risking another angry elf intercepting her call, Mom can ask me or my brother to go to CVS.com/drug (because you know she doesn’t know how) and check things like:
- Enhanced Drug Information: Patients are empowered to make better health decisions and have more informed consultations with their caregivers, pharmacists or physicians LIKE A BOSS. Education is everything.
- New medication overviews that include large pill images as well as “How This Drug Works” videos that show what is happening inside the body when taking the medication. This helps patients understand how the medication works so they will keep taking it, even if they don’t feel an immediate physical difference.
- Customers can also review guidance on whether certain medications are safe for use before, during and after pregnancy. Other condition and lifestyle related information including interactions with food and drink.
- Unprecedented Access to Drug Details: Patients can now view details on side effect occurrence rates and patient usage statistics that were previously not readily available to consumers. (Read: medical record stuff we normally have to make an appointment to view. NOT ANY MORE!)
- With more information on the reported incident, severity and onset of clinical side effects, patients will have a better grasp of what to expect in regard to side effects, when to expect them, and when to be concerned about side effects they may experience
- Access to new patient usage resources provides information on typical strengths prescribed, plus average generic versus brand name drug usage rates
- Drug Interaction Checker: THIS IS SO CLUTCH FOR MY MOM! Similar to the innovative Drug Interaction Checker recently added to the CVS Pharmacy Mobile app for smartphones, the new CVS.com Drug Information Center now features a personalized drug interaction checker.
- Patients are able to quickly and easily import prescription information from their secure CVS.com account or manually enter information to find out how a particular prescription medication or over-the-counter (OTC) remedy interacts with other medications and lifestyle factors
- The tool offers patients a full view of possible interactions as compared to all current medications, and users can refine their searches by severity of interactions or by specific drugs
- Printable Medicine List: Patients are able to combine prescription and non-prescription health information into one personalized printable list that folds into card size they can store in a wallet, facilitating better communication between patient and health care provider. I told my Mom to make a note in her phone about her medicine list and her head exploded. So wallet-size fold-able list it is!
CVS Pharmacies in Target are helping my Mom help herself. And we all know if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy–especially if Mama is sick and everybody’s worried. If I could hug CVS.com Drug Information Center I would because it is empowering and educating patients all over the country. Well done, CVS, and thank you for helping my Mommy.