The purpose of the follow-up evaluation is to determine the patient's outcomes from drug therapy and to compare these results with the patient's goals of therapy.
During the follow-up evaluation, the practitioner is looking for evidence of effectiveness, safety, and any new problems that may have occurred since the last visit. • At each follow-up, the practitioner is looking for good, bad, and new. • In general, the good (effectiveness) comes in the form of the disappearance of the signs and symptoms of the disease or illness. The bad (safety) comes in the form of adverse and harmful effects from drug therapies.
Acute vs Chronic • For patients with acute disorders, the follow-up evaluation often serves as the determination of the final outcome. • More commonly, for patients with chronic conditions, continual or serial follow-up evaluations over time serve to establish the improvement or decline in the status of the patient's condition being managed with drug therapy during that same timeframe
The standard pharmacotherapy outcome status terms describe two characteristics of the patient's drug therapy: • 1. the progress, or lack of progress, in achieving the desired goals of therapy at the time of the follow-up evaluation; and • 2. the action, if any, taken to adjust the patient's drug therapies.
It is essential that when you conduct a follow-up evaluation, you record the patient outcomes and your clinical evaluation of the patient's status while receiving drug therapy. • The outcome status is recorded using the standard pharmacotherapy outcome terminology of resolved, stable, improved, partially improved, unimproved, worsened, or failure. These terms represent your clinical judgment.
Recommended changes in drug therapy are documented at the follow-up evaluation, and the care plan is modified to reflect the new therapy. • Changes in product, dose, interval, duration, and/or instructions need to be clearly and completely understood by your patient. • Lastly, you will record the schedule for the next follow-up evaluation.