Medication adherence is a common problem in today’s world. As a result, nonadherent patients often need rehospitalization, emergency treatment, or other interventions. Many people don’t take their medications as prescribed due to expensive out-of-pocket costs. In fact, reports have shown that prescription abandonment rates are 45% when the out-of-pocket cost is over $125.
When your patients don’t take their medication, it can lead to increased healthcare costs, hospitalizations, and even death. You can help improve your patients’ understanding of taking their medications with the tips below.
Boost your patients’ medication adherence with these strategies:
- Understand patients’ medication-taking behaviors: Ask them whether they have trouble filling, taking, or affording their medications. Listen without blame so patients feel at ease speaking openly.
- Discuss side effects: Patients are less likely to stop taking the medication if you inform them of side effects in advance. Talk about the side effects and explain how to prevent an adverse drug reaction. Have your patients repeat back the most important points.
- Jot down the info. Not everyone retains verbal instructions. So, write down the information you share with your patients. Be prepared with medication calendars, pill cards, schedules, or charts to inform them how and when to take their medications.
- Collaborate. What is the best time of day for your patients to take their medications? Brainstorm ideas with them, especially if their doctor failed to give instructions.
- Connect patients with financial assistance plans. Patients may stop taking their medications if they’re too pricey. Connect them with assistance plans and/or pharmacies that provide 30-day supplies of widely prescribed medications. You can also prescribe lower-cost generic medications.
- Suggest a pillbox. A pillbox is a simple and cost-effective way to keep track of medications. With separate compartments for each day of the week, it keeps your patients organized. Some have additional sections for different times of the day, along with different colors.
- Synchronize their medication. Make it easier for your patients to manage their medications. Align all of their prescription refills to occur on the same day each month. This will also help them remember when they need to take them.
- Make use of technology. E-pill medication devices such as automatic pill dispensers, pillboxes and timers, and alarm watches can help patients remember to take their medications.
- Follow up with patients. Send medication reminders through text, email, or direct mail. Schedule follow-up appointments to discuss medication adherence. Don’t let patients fall through the cracks. Make sure they understand why they need to take their medication as prescribed, even when they’re free of symptoms.
Strategies like these can guide you on how to help your patients comply with medication regimens. There will always be barriers to medication compliance, but what matters is how you address them.
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An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.