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Prescriber continuity and medication availability in older adults with cardiometabolic conditions.

Maciejewski ML, Hammill BG, Voils CI, Ding L, Bayliss EA, Curtis LH, Wang V. Prescriber continuity and medication availability in older adults with cardiometabolic conditions. SAGE open medicine. 2018 Feb 6; 6:2050312118757388.

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Background: Many older adults have multiple conditions and see multiple providers, which may impact their use of essential medications. Objective: We examined whether the number of prescribers of these medications was associated with the availability of medications, a surrogate for adherence, to manage diabetes, hypertension or dyslipidemia. Methods: A retrospective cohort of 383,145 older adults with diabetes, hypertension or dyslipidemia in the US Medicare program living in 10 states. The association between the number of prescribers of cardiometabolic medications in 2010 and medication availability (proportion of days with medication on hand) in 2011 was estimated via logistic regression, controlling for patient demographic characteristics and chronic conditions. Results: Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes, hypertension and/or dyslipidemia had an average of five chronic conditions overall, obtained 10-12 medications for all conditions and most often had one prescriber of cardiometabolic medications. In adjusted analyses, the number of prescribers was not significantly associated with availability of oral diabetes agents but having more prescribers is associated with increased medication availability in older Medicare beneficiaries with dyslipidemia or hypertension. Conclusion: The incremental addition of new prescribers may be clinically reasonable for complex patients but creates the potential for coordination problems and informational discontinuity over time. Health systems may want to identify complex patients with multiple prescribers to minimize care fragmentation.

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