To Combat Rising Polypharmacy Rates, Health Atlast Offers New Type of Healthcare Practice

Health Atlast CEO, Stephanie Higashi, discusses polypharmacy rates and the importance of catering a medical plan around a patients core needs.

At the heart of the issue are doctors who, instead of referring patients to other appropriate healthcare providers (such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, physio-therapists, etc.), simply write multiple prescriptions to try to manage a patient’s symptoms.

As polypharmacy (the use of multiple or unnecessary drugs to treat a single medical condition(1)) rates continue to rise, patients bear the brunt of a healthcare industry that puts its own needs first. Physicians must work with other healthcare professionals to ensure patient care is as effective as possible.

Despite growing national attention on over-prescription of opioids and other medications, rates of polypharmacy in elderly patients have more than doubled since 2004.(2) In 2013, there were over 3.68 million patient visits to healthcare providers that involved polypharmacy.(2) Health Atlast, a new type of integrated healthcare practice franchise, offers a different solution to this unethical and widespread medical practice.

From 2004 to 2013, 68.1% of women aged 65 or older received prescriptions for drugs that were medically unnecessary or that were similar to a medication already being taken.(2) Disturbingly, 45.9% of elderly patients were prescribed multiple medications that act on the central nervous system, despite not having a diagnosis of any pain conditions, mental health conditions, or insomnia.(2)

In addition to the fact that patients are simply consuming unnecessary medications, polypharmacy can result in dangerous drug interactions that lead to deadly consequences, such as serious falls. Mixing medications contributes to confusion and dizziness in seniors,(3) and nationwide, elderly people are treated for falls in emergency departments every 11 seconds.(4) Every 19 minutes, a fall resulting in an elderly person’s death occurs.(4)

“At the heart of the issue are doctors who, instead of referring patients to other appropriate healthcare providers (such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, physio-therapists, etc.), simply write multiple prescriptions to try to manage a patient’s symptoms,” said Stephanie Higashi, D.C. CEO of Health Atlast. “Often, these doctors don’t get to the cause of the patient’s problem, nor do they provide the patient with all the information needed to make an informed decision about their care.”

With the changing healthcare landscape in America, lack of consistent, predictable revenue from patients has led physicians into to being short-sighted in their patient treatment. Over-regulation and lowered insurance payments have pushed physicians to limit…

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