Negligence towards prescribed medication, and skipping the dosage leads to many complications in further treatment, along with extended medical expenses in future. Improved medication adherence is a sure way to reduce healthcare expenses and early treatment of the disease.
Medical adherence, in simple words, means following the guidelines of your medical prescription strictly. In all types of illnesses, medical nonadherence plays a significant role in the healing process, especially in cases of chronic diseases.
Medication adherence can be a complicated process to get a grasp of. It depends on numerous factors throughout the course of care. These factors are related to the patient, supplier, treatment type, and healthcare system. They can be classified as the following categories for easier understanding:
Most of the patients do not have a sufficient understanding of their diseases to follow a strict yet beneficial medical adherence. This is also affected by the general lack of medical literacy. In many other cases, patients are not fully involved or invested in the decision making process regarding their health plan. Patients are often biased towards certain medical procedures due to their existing beliefs based on previous experiences or anecdotal evidence. Patients’ loss of motivation during the course of treatment for their chronic illness also triggers medical nonadherence. In developing countries, there are several other factors like low socioeconomic status, inability to pay for medication, and lack of transportation that adds to the overall nonadherence.
Most of the doctors aggravate the nonadherence by prescribing a complicated regimen of drugs to patients. They often fail to explain the severity and adverse effects of not following the prescription. Not understanding the financial burden of a patient, doctors prescribe an expensive therapy plan to a chronic illness ridden patient who can’t possibly follow it for a prolonged period. Lack of communication between a care provider and a patient causes this barrier that effectively lessens the adherence in patients. Studies have shown that less than 20% of the doctors directly communicate with their patients in the case of the first hospitalization.
A broken health care system affects the adherence by not allowing a lot of patients the ease with which they can afford or access their prescription plans. Poor technological availability for health-related information means that the doctors can’t effectively communicate with patients regarding their adherence issues. Our health care systems are often overburdened with a large volume of patients being catered to by a single physician. This leads to less communication and poor assessment of patients. The system largely affects the time spent between a care provider and a patient which in turn, acts as a knowledge barrier.
Digital Tools For Improving Medication Adherence
1 Mobile Apps
Mobile apps these days serve patients in a myriad of ways to improve medication adherence. Systems like Nomi collect patient data and identifies patterns. The system sends text messages directly to patients as a reminder prompts to take medicines. Other systems also allow healthcare providers to monitor patients between visits. It compiles patient-reported data, identifies symptoms, and connects to clinicians with the relevant data. Another similar product, Drive, streamlines the patient education and adherence programs. It uses gamification tools, behavioral psychologies, and loyalty marketing to improve medication adherence.
2 Smart Pill Bottles
These medical adherence devices can track when patients take their medications. It is done either through sensors in the bottle cap that detect when a bottle is opened or through sensors in the bottom of the bottle that can identify the weight of the pills and calculate if the patient was adherent. Smart bottles come with apps or as standalone products. One caveat is for patients who take multiple medications. The cost of smart bottles can go up fast in those cases. These devices can track when a pill is taken from inside, but they cannot correctly identify whether the medication was taken by the patient. Smart pill bottles sold by companies such as PillDrill, EllieGrid, AdhereTech, and others are designed to remind patients of their medication courses and makes significantly improves their adherence to the courses.
Read More About Medication Adherence Panaceas.
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