So What Do We Do?

Alternative Medicine - - Quick Nutrition -

fam­ily doc­tors sur­veyed across all ages ad­mit­ted to feel­ing burned out.

A 2014 Brigham and Women's study found that providers write more an­tibi­otic pre­scrip­tions in the afternoons than morn­ings; this sug­gests “de­ci­sion fa­tigue” on the part of providers. Many ad­mit that they are bom­barded daily with pa­tient re­quests for an­tibi­otics. Be­cause of the in­creased pres­sures cre­ated by the new health­care en­vi­ron­ment, pa­tient ed­u­ca­tion must oc­cur out­side of the ac­tual face-to­face in­ter­ac­tion with their doc­tor: for ex­am­ple, dis­play­ing more ed­u­ca­tional poster ma­te­ri­als in the exam rooms, in­creas­ing use of pa­tient ed­u­ca­tional hand­outs, and re­ly­ing more on mid-level providers such as nurse prac­ti­tion­ers to han­dle coun­sel­ing. Th­ese can all help re­duce in­ap­pro­pri­ate pre­scrib­ing prac­tices, while also main­tain­ing or im­prov­ing pa­tient sat­is­fac­tion. Web ma­te­ri­als, dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and so­cial me­dia also pro­vide mech­a­nisms to com­mu­ni­cate with one's pa­tient base in a more stream­lined man­ner be­fore and af­ter the visit.

In the end, th­ese mea­sures may not al­ways be ad­e­quate or ef­fi­cient. There will al­ways be a pro­fes­sional de­sire and pres­sure to in­ter­vene when a pa­tient shows up in the of­fice, ur­gent care, or emer­gency room. In th­ese cases, there is likely an ex­panded role for wellde­signed sup­ple­ments as a tan­gi­ble so­lu­tion to pa­tient pres­sure for un­nec­es­sary an­tibi­otics.

This is how the EZC Pak, the first physi­cian-for­mu­lated five-day ta­pered im­mune sup­port pack, came about. Com­posed of cer­ti­fied or­ganic Echi­nacea, zinc, and vi­ta­min C, the EZC Pak was de­signed out of pro­fes­sional con­cern to ad­dress the prob­lem of in­ap­pro­pri­ate an­tibi­otic use. Cap­sules are taken at a higher fre­quency ini­tially then ta­pered off over five days. By pro­vid­ing pa­tients with con­crete physi­cian-di­rected guid­ance, the EZC Pak has had ex­cel­lent early re­sults in re­duc­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate an­tibi­otic pre­scrip­tions by providers, while al­low­ing them to main­tain—and in many cases, im­prove—pa­tient sat­is­fac­tion.

“It's clear that we're ap­proach­ing a cliff with an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance,” says CDC di­rec­tor Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “Clin­i­cians and health­care sys­tems need to im­prove pre­scrib­ing prac­tices, and pa­tients need to rec­og­nize that there are both risks and ben­e­fits to an­tibi­otics: More medicine isn't best; the right medicine at the right time is best.”

My pro­fes­sional hope is that health­care providers un­der­stand their role in stem­ming the tide of drug re­sis­tance. Ad­di­tion­ally, I want them to rec­og­nize and uti­lize the tools at their dis­posal to ed­u­cate their pa­tients about the ap­pro­pri­ate use of an­tibi­otics and the role sup­ple­ments can play in im­prov­ing health­care prac­tices. We must re­mem­ber: When it comes to in­fec­tious dis­eases—par­tic­u­larly in our glob­al­ized so­ci­ety—re­spon­si­ble de­ci­sion-mak­ing is just as crit­i­cal to our own per­sonal health as it is to our col­lec­tive pub­lic health.

Sarath Malepati, MD, is the founder and med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the PPC Group. For more in­for­ma­tion about Dr. Malepati’s most cur­rent project, the EZC Pak, visit ezc­pak.com. Over 100 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have el­e­vated Choles­terol lev­els. Many do not know that they are at risk for heart dis­ease. Don’t wait un­til your next phys­i­cal to find out!

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