HCA Midwest Health - December 04, 2017

Why do I need a doctor’s appointment to renew a routine prescription refill?

There’s a reason you are routinely taking a prescription medication—usually to treat a chronic condition or lessen your risk of preventable disease. You may have allergies, high blood pressure, heartburn or something else. And you may even have been taking the same medication for months or years with no problems. So why do you have to go see the doctor to get it refilled?

We can’t speak to your individual situation. But here’s a glimpse into why your doctor is probably asking you to come in.

Has anything changed since your last visit?

Have you gained or lost weight? Has your blood pressure gone up or down? Your doctor looks at these factors and more to gauge you overall health.

Even if you are pretty sure nothing has changed, the fact is, that may not be true. Changes can be subtle—something you don’t notice, but your doctor can see with a physical exam or lab tests.

Is your current treatment the best treatment?

The need for a prescription refill is a great time for your physician to reevaluate whether the medicine you are taking is still the best choice for your situation and condition. Medical research is being conducted and reported all the time. Your doctor may know of new studies showing one drug works better than another or that a different dose might be more appropriate.

That won’t always lead to a change in your treatment, but your face-to-face visit gives your doctor the opportunity to consider and recommend options based on your needs and situation.

Am I Confident This Patient Can Continue Safely?

By signing your prescription, your doctor is saying: “Yes, I am confident this patient can take this medicine safely for this period of time.” The only way doctors can say that responsibly is to see you.

That’s why you seek out doctors to begin with—for their expertise. You really don’t want a doctor to just say “yes,” rubber-stamp your treatment and move on. You want compassionate, knowledgeable physicians to take a hard look at your health and treatments and make adjustments when needed.

Helping Patients and Doctors Connect

At HCA Midwest Health, we provide tools and support to our facilities and affiliated practices that improve doctor-patient communication: like our Search & Schedule tool that helps you schedule an appointment online—even at 3 a.m. We also have online Health Assessments to encourage more effective communication and catch potential health issues early.

It may seem like a routine prescription renewal, but at HCA Midwest Health, we never take your health (or time) for granted.