VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Play it Safe with a Wallet Medication Card
Do you carry a list of your medicines? When the Veterans Health Education committee did a survey last year, only 38% of patients answered yes to that question. There were many reasons why patients did not carry a list of their medicines:
- Hadn't realized it was important
- Memorized the medicines
- Only takes a couple of pills
- Takes too many pills
- List was at home or in the car
- VA knows the medicines
What if you need urgent medical care but you are not near a VA? What if you see private doctors as well as your VA providers? Or what about just being able to pull out your list to review at your appointments to make sure it matches what's in the computer? That's called medication reconciliation and it is an important safety measure. Medication reconciliation helps to keep you safe by making sure your health care providers know all of your medicines, vitamins and supplements.
An accurate and up-to-date medication list in your wallet can help with all of these issues. Many of the Veterans we surveyed were interested in having a wallet medication card, so these are now available in the primary care clinics and pharmacies. There is space to list 20 medications. It's important to note how much you are taking and why you are taking each medicine as well. Here is an example: Aspirin 81mg 1x/day for heart.
If you would rather go paperless, you can have your medication list on your phone through My HealtheVet or a number of other free phone apps. Whichever method you choose, play it safe and make sure you have your medication list with you.