3 Ways to Improve Patient Adherence

3 Ways to Improve Patient Adherence

Adherence to medication challenges almost all of our providers. Patients are people with minds of their own and often do not understand why they should continue taking their medication regularly or how their medication relates to their condition. This lack of knowledge can be a minefield in the relationship between doctor and patient unless it is revealed and addressed, which can only occur in a relationship built on trust.  


According to an article archived in The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “the treatment of chronic illnesses commonly includes the long-term use of pharmacotherapy. Although these medications are effective in combating disease, their full benefits are often not realized because approximately 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed.” 


Factors that contribute range from communication and access to clear instructions to patients forgetting the correct dosage or when to take their medication.


Central to all of these questions are how to improve the patient experience. We have documented three ways to improve adherence:


  1. Ensure instructions are in the language of the patient


Patients cannot take their medications if they do not understand the instructions. By making sure instructions are in the language of the patient, the possibility for confusion is eliminated and the patient has a better end experience. 


  1. Build trust


Patients will not take their medication if they do not understand or trust the outcomes, so it is important to ensure that patients are educated on how their medication works to achieve these outcomes. 


“Maintaining a blame-free environment and providing patients with praise for goal achievement are essential for a trusting and effective relationship between patient and practitioner,” stated an article in US Pharmacist that emphasized the importance of trust in the patient relationship. When patients trust their doctors, they are able to reveal issues that are challenging them when it comes to adherence, increasing the doctor’s chances of improving that adherence and achieving better outcomes. 


“Patients may have challenges communicating adherence barriers to their healthcare team or have difficulty understanding the health consequences of nonadherence,” stated the article. “Asking key questions through motivational interviewing is therefore imperative to revealing adherence challenges, and empathetic listening will assist in arriving at patient-centered solutions to overcome these challenges.” 


Ultimately, stated the article, “patient education and ongoing communication are critical for patient understanding and medication persistence, especially with mindful consideration that challenges can ebb and flow over time.”


  1. Use technology to your advantage 


Technology such as that utilized by Medly Pharmacy is a critical component of medication adherence. Mobile reminders and notifications are an important way for patients to maintain their adherence, even during busy times. 


While ensuring medication adherence can be a challenge, partnering with digital pharmacies such as Medly Pharmacy and taking advantage of the tools offered to practitioners can provide a powerful boost to patient compliance. 


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