That's a big improvement, but it's still important to ask whether we are getting the job done, especially when it comes to prescription medicines. Two-thirds of office visits end with a prescription written or renewed. More than half of people in the U.S. now take a prescription medicine of some kind, and more than one in five are taking at least three. Of course, since all medicines have potential risks, and many have rare but potentially serious risks, balancing the risks and benefits of treatments is one of the most central functions that health care providers can perform during clinical care. Yet all too often, there remains a troubling gap in how successfully these risks and benefits are communicated to patients.