Medication adherence, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the degree to which a person’s behavior corresponds with the agreed recommendations from a health care provider.” It describes how the patient and doctor work together to improve the patient’s health by aligning the physician’s medical judgment and the patient’s lifestyle, values, and preferences for long term care.
There are various sorts of non-adherence, however most of the time the categories overlap. The first type is known as primary non-adherence, in which a prescription is written but the medication is never filled or started. This is frequently referred to as non-fulfillment adherence. The second sort of non-adherence is non-persistence, which occurs when people opt to discontinue medicine after beginning it without being instructed to do so by a health expert. The third one is known as non-conforming, which covers several ways in which prescriptions are not taken as recommended. This behavior can range from missing doses to taking medications at inappropriate times or doses, to taking more than prescribed.
Adhering to your medication regimen entails taking your medications as directed – the correct dose, at the correct time, in the correct manner, and regularly. Whether individuals belong to the non-persistent, non-conforming, or disregard their refill prescription entirely, all three are equally dangerous. If you’re questioning why it’s because failing to take your prescription as recommended by a doctor or directed by a pharmacist might result in your condition worsening or hospitalization. In the worst cases, it can even be life-threatening.
Contrary to popular belief, however, medication non-adherence is not always the result of patients’ deliberate intentions. In truth, most patients do not follow their doctor’s recommendations on how to take their drugs for a variety of reasons. For example, not fully comprehending the directions, forgetfulness, taking various prescriptions or OTC medications with different regimens, unwanted side effects, or the medication appearing to be ineffective.
Medication non-adherence can also be influenced by cost. Whereby, patients who struggle to afford to fill their prescriptions may choose to take less than the specified amount to make the prescription last longer. Taking all these into account, it’s only right to set forth interventions and initiatives to help increase medication adherence, is it not? For providers who are seeking helpful resources in accomplishing this, you’ve come to the right place!
Cavalier Pharmacare, a reputable retail pharmacy, makes every attempt to provide accurate information to both healthcare professionals and patients. We aspire to do this not just to enhance people’s lives, but also to strengthen the healthcare community as a whole.
With that being said, here are a few tips providers may consider that would help to increase their patients’ medication adherence:
- Develop a process for routinely asking about medication adherence.
Every practice should create an approach for assessing adherence. One method of doing this is that at check-in, the medical assistant (MA) and/or receptionist can provide the patient with a pre-visit questionnaire that includes questions regarding medication consumption. The questionnaire may be accompanied by a list of the patient’s current medicines, with instructions to cross off any prescriptions that are no longer being taken and mark those that are no longer being taken regularly or that they would want to discuss.
- Create a shame- and blame-free environment to discuss medications with the patient.
The patient may have valid reasons for not taking their medications. They should be reassured that they may open up about their actual medication-taking habits without being judged for it. This encourages patients to be candid with you and can generate valuable information that can be used to design a strategy to enhance their adherence.
- Tailor the adherence solution to the individual patient.
Each patient may have a different cause for failing to take their medication. By recognizing and addressing these specific reasons, you may create a tailored approach that encourages future adherence. You might try to simplify a patient’s dosage plan by arranging for all medications to be given at the same time of day.
- Involve the patient in developing their treatment plan.
Patients who participate in medication decisions are more likely to stick to their treatment plan. You can offer patients an option before taking a new medication to let them know their opinions and preferences are respected.
- Set the patient up for success.
Lastly, make it simple for patients to follow their medication routine. One direct approach to do this is to provide patients with an updated medication list at the end of each appointment that indicates any changes to their treatment plan.
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