Globally it is observed that patient compliance consists a multidimensional and complex health issue. Approximately 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed. They don’t follow instructions for the timing, dosage, and frequency of their medications which comprise the health of the patients. Hence it is necessary to understand the importance of patient compliance.
Importance of patient compliance
Patient compliance is defined as the degree of adherence of a Patient, to a prescribed diet or treatment and whether the patient returns for re-examination, follow-up, or treatment.
However, when it comes to improving patient compliance with medication, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Every patient and its circumstance is different.
There are various reasons like some fear the side effects and warnings, others don’t believe the medication will work, some forget to fill their prescriptions or to take it at the right times.
Each year noncompliant patients make up for 10 to 25 percent of nursing home and hospital admissions. This non-compliant behavior costs the US health care system over $100 billion annually.
Moreover, U.S. estimated costs of medication, noncompliance is $100 to $289 billion per year and these figures are expected to grow in the future.
Lack of patient motivation is the root cause of non-compliance. However, there are certain solutions to assist physicians in tailoring treatment plans to each individual patient that will provide them with the motivation they need to collaborate in their own care.
Now, let’s look at some strategies that providers can use to boost medication compliance:
Understand each patient behavior
Providers need to understand if the patients are facing problems while filling, taking, or affording their medications. Moreover, create motivating environments that patients feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly.
Create awareness about side effects
Providers should talk about side effects and let them know how to prevent an adverse drug reaction. Moreover, the likelihood of side effects, do they typically resolve without intervention, and how will the treatment plan change if they don’t resolve? All these questions must be answered from providers.
Consider the financial burden to the patient
Providers need to know the financial condition of patients and if they can afford the prescribed medications.
To make patient compliant providers should make patients aware about pharma company-based assistance plans, state-based assistance plans, and pharmacies that provide 30-day supplies of widely prescribed medications.
Reducing the complexity of the drug regimen will help patients to follow through with taking medications correctly. Some ways to reduce complexity are providing combination products and prescribe medications with once-daily dosing instead of multiple doses per day etc.
Take help from Technology
Patient medication compliance may improve with the help of technology such as automatic pill dispensers, pillboxes and timers, and alarm watches. A Bluetooth pillbox can provide physicians the information they can use to detect adherence issues.
Follow-up with Patients
Use medication reminders via text, email, or direct mail or during time allotted for chronic care management services. In addition, schedule follow-up appointments to discuss medication compliance. Make sure your patients need to know why they need to take their medication as prescribed even when they’re symptom-free.