Important Tips For Improving Medical Adherence

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Tim Reynolds, M.D. - Texarkana

Educating patients about treatment

When a practitioner or pharmacy fails to prepare a patient for all possible outcomes adequately, the patient may cease taking the drug. If a patient begins to feel better, they may believe that the medication is no longer required. To avoid adverse effects, the patient could stop taking medicine if they start to feel worse. If the patient notices no change, they may infer that the medication is ineffective. Prescribers may spend less than a minute explaining how a drug works and how they should anticipate feeling when it comes to new therapies. Patients are frequently required to initiate more information by asking questions. The pharmacist has the chance to fill up any gaps in patient care and give an extra level of service. The more time pharmacists spend with a patient explaining their ailment, how the prescription works, and why it is critical to take the medication consistently, the more likely they will stick to their treatment plan. Patients with chronic illnesses are more likely to stick to their medicine if they believe it improves their overall health.

Engaging with patients

Patients engage with their pharmacist far more frequently than they interact with their prescriber. Therefore, pharmacists and pharmacy personnel should give every patient who enters the door a few minutes of attention. This step can make a massive difference in the life of a patient. In addition, pharmacists should inquire about their patients’ feelings, such as whether a new dosage is functioning better or if they are experiencing any other adverse effects. These questions can initiate a discussion and allow a patient to express concerns that may eventually lead to non-adherence. Regular, open communication is also helpful for creating trust because patients may have more questions once they begin therapy than before they start treatment.

Collaborating with prescribers

The prescriber and the pharmacist must communicate effectively. This reinforces the notion that both parties are members of the same healthcare team. This type of strategy is becoming increasingly common as the health care team is evaluated on improving patient outcomes, thanks to the expansion of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and evolving payer oversight. This has the extra benefit of providing patients with a sense of belonging to a team that communicates about their care frequently. In addition, many independent pharmacists participate in community events outside of their business, which allows them to meet prescribers and share in person, allowing them to create stronger relationships.

About the Author

Tim Reynolds, M.D.

Tim Reynolds, M.D. is the founder of Dr. Tim International, Inc., a company he established in 2009 to allow him to share his passion for Living Every Minute™ with others.

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