An initial consultation usually includes a question about the supplements, over the counter and prescribed medicines our clients take. But how often do we miss or revisit this vital information?
Erica McIntyre and team recently uncovered some shocking statistics around how few of our clients are disclosing ALL their conventional medicines.
We’re used to reading the studies that show the opposite side of the disclosure equation – patients who don’t tell their doctors about their complementary medicines. But unfortunately, we’re not immune.
The truth is, our client’s don’t disclose their medications to us as much as we think.
58.5% of naturopathic and 66.3% of herbalist patients don’t fully disclose their use of conventional medicine. While this is a worrying statistic, perhaps of greater concern are why they don’t tell us.
Why client’s don’t fully disclose their medication
The top reasons for non-disclosure centre around our client’s fear of our disapproval.
That’s right, many of our clients don’t trust us. Some believe we might judge their decision to take some medications, so they simply don’t disclose their full medical treatment. This hesitancy is sometimes because we or another complementary health practitioner previously reacted negatively about this, or a perceived lack of support for conventional treatment.
Other reasons sited include us neglecting to ask them about their medication, the client forgetting to mention it or just running out of time in the consultation to do a review.
The full study makes sobering reading but the good news is, there’s a lot we can do to change this.
Update November 2021: the full study is now available at PLOS ONE.
Strategies to encourage client full disclosure of all conventional and complementary medicines
Whether its prescribed medication or other complementary protocols, these 8 tips can improve trust and encourage full disclosure.
- Be non-judgemental about our clients health choices.
- Be inclusive, routinely keep GPs, specialists and allied health professionals updated about your treatment plan and show you support a collaborative approach to their healthcare.
- At the initial consultation always ask about regular and occasional prescription or over the counter medicines.
- Educate your clients so they understand why it’s important.
- Review medications at least every three months, anytime they present with new symptoms or have had a recent GP or specialist consultation.
- Be curious – directly ask about medication if there is past or current history that would suggest they may take regular medication, such as headaches, back pain, high blood pressure.
- If you send updates or newsletters to clients, periodically include a “has your medication changed” alert.
- Create social media posts about why being aware prescribed and OTC meds and other supplements is important.
What strategies do you use to encourage trust and stay updated?