Emily had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was prescribed medication to manage her condition. At first, she was diligent about taking her meds as prescribed but over time, she began to skip her pills occasionally. As a result, her blood pressure became harder to control and later caused complications.
Emily's story is not uncommon. Many people struggle with medication adherence to their treatment routine. Non-adherence has serious consequences, including poor health outcomes, increased hospitalizations, and chronic diseases that may lead to death. Studies suggest that medication non-adherence is a significant public health issue, with estimates proposing that up to 50% of medications for chronic conditions are not taken as prescribed.
Medication non-adherence is a severe problem that has affected many people in the US alone. It refers to when people do not adhere to their medical plan for treating a disease. It is mainly seen among people with chronic illness or mild-prolonged conditions such as thyroid or blood pressure.
Medication adherence is critical because it can affect the effectiveness of the treatment. Suppose patients fail to take their meds as prescribed, they may not receive the full treatment benefit, leading to disease progression and complications, just like Emily from earlier.
Fortunately, there are effective ways to address medication adherence and improve health outcomes. In this blog, we'll explore five ways to help you stay on track with your medication regimen, from developing a medication routine to using technology and involving family and friends. By implementing these strategies, individuals like Emily can better manage their conditions and live healthier lives.
Before we get to solutions for improving medication adherence, let us talk about a few common barriers people face that cause them to forget their meds and skip a few pills every now and then.
There are several reasons why patients may fail to comply with their medication regimens. One of the most common reasons is forgetfulness, with up to 40% of patients admitting to forgetting their medication routine at some point.
Other barriers to medication adherence include medication side effects and complex dosing schedules. People who have suffered from side effects of the medicine will probably show some resistance when returning to it. On the other hand, a complex dosing schedule will add to forgetfulness among older patients to their prescriptions.
Money problems have always been a part of the non-adherence cases. Still, with the increasing number of healthcare insurance providers offering affordable packages to patients, medication costs do not majorly affect adherence for diseases like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes in the US.
Check out our previous blog here to learn more about patient non-compliance and their reasons.
Following are five ways that you can improve your medication adherence and improve the efficacy of your treatment
Simplify medication regimens
One of the most effective ways to improve treatment adherence is to simplify the medication regimen. This can be accomplished by reducing the number of medications a patient takes, simplifying the dosing schedule, or using combination medications.
For example, instead of taking multiple medications at different times throughout the day, a patient could switch to a single pill that combines numerous drugs.
Educate patients on the importance of medication adherence.
Another effective strategy for improving medication adherence is educating patients on medication adherence's importance. By providing patients with information on the risks of non-adherence, and the importance of following the prescribed medication regimen, we can decrease the fallout rate and help patients understand the consequences.
Patients who understand the rationale behind their medication regimen are more likely to comply with their treatment.
Communicate with healthcare providers.
Healthy communication between patients and their healthcare providers can lead to an ecosystem of trust, understanding, and clarity. Patients should have their doubts cleared, any pain points they address should be acted upon immediately, and they must share accurate and elaborate information with the healthcare providers.
Communication can help establish a collaborative relationship that will enable patients to receive the necessary guidance, support, and information to enhance their medication adherence.
Use technology to improve medication adherence.
Technology can play a very crucial role in improving medication adherence. Solutions such as telemedicine, medicine reminder apps, pill dispensers, and electronic health records can create a much more accessible environment for patients to recover.
Technology can assist in tracking and managing medication regimens, send alerts when the time is due and have virtual appointments with physicians. How people engage with technology is a personal aspect varying from individual to individual. Hence it is essential to consider individual preferences and needs when recommending technology-based solutions.
Coherence Health is a company led by the top physician in the US who urges to work on the impending problem of patient adherence. Coherence Health provides an automatic pill dispenser that can assist you in your recovery journey and fit into your hectic calendar. Connect with us here today, and get your own automatic pill dispenser.
Involving caregivers and family members in the medication adherence plan
Involving caregivers and family members in the medication adherence plan can positively impact a patient's adherence. Caregivers can help patients adhere to their medication regimens by actively monitoring and addressing side effects. They can help establish a routine and gently remind when doses are due.
Family and caregivers can assist with medication refills and coordinating prescription pick-ups. Shared decision-making among the patient, caregiver, and healthcare provider can foster a coordinated approach to medication management.
In conclusion, medication adherence is critical to managing chronic health conditions and ensuring positive health outcomes. Healthcare providers and patients alike can take proactive steps to address medication non-adherence. By understanding the specific situation and curating solutions to them, we can help patients achieve better health outcomes and overall quality of life.