6 Medication Adherence Tools Health Care Facilities Can Use to Assist Patients
Medication adherence, or taking medicines correctly, is a term used to describe how well patients follow doctors’ orders for taking their medicine as prescribed.
The degree of medication adherence can affect a patient’s health outcomes, quality and length of life, and overall healthcare costs, and unfortunately, non-adherence can account for up to 50% of treatment failures. There are many reasons why patients may not adhere to doctors’ orders, such as the lack of access, financial stress, and other barriers. And that’s why it’s crucial for health care providers and teams to approach their patients with empathy and a listening ear.
Besides that, there are other tangible solutions that your health care office can take to improve medication adherence. Here are six medication adherence tools and strategies you might want to consider as a health care provider:
1. Use mobile medical apps.
Now that we’ve got technology on our side, patients who already rely heavily on their phones can benefit from a medical app that contains important information about their treatment plan, including medication education, appointment scheduling, refill alerts, and adherence logging.
2. Send automatic phone calls and reminder texts.
Use automated text and call services to send your patients reminders directly to their phones.
3. Create reminder charts.
Remembering medication instructions that doctors give verbally is difficult for most patients. So make it easier on them by providing charts that detail everything they need to know, like when to take their medication, who prescribed it, how long they need to take it, and more.
This chart should be simple to read and understand.
4. Educate patients face-to-face.
Patients who receive face-to-face counseling are more likely to adhere to doctors’ orders. So rather than sending your patients off to figure things out on their own, consider taking the time to implement in-person education.
5. Create a blame-free office environment.
As we said before, patients all have their reasons for not taking their medication. So try to understand your patient’s medication-taking habits early on and make it clear that they are in a blame-free environment and that you’re only there to support them. This way, your patients will feel more open to discussing their barriers honestly.
6. Consider the financial burden for patients.
The cost of medication is one of the biggest reasons why patients are non-adherent. If patients can’t afford their medication, then the easiest solution is to simply stop taking them. So make it a point to understand your patient’s financial situation and have resources on hand to point them to that will provide financial assistance.
There will always be barriers that exist and prevent patients from complying with their prescriber’s instructions. But it’s up to health care providers to make sure they’re doing everything they can to improve medication adherence through education, understanding, and strategies like the ones above.
If your organization doesn’t have a support plan for medication adherence in place, it’s an excellent time to develop one.