Adherence to therapies is a primary determinant of treatment success. Patient compliance with follow-up also plays a key role in the medical surveillance of chronic diseases.
Failure to adherence is a serious problem that not only affects the patient but also the health care system. Medication non-adherence in patients leads to a substantial worsening of the disease, death and increased health care costs.
Objective: Determining doctors’ perception of patients compliance to medication and follow up a treatment plan
A total of 124 doctors participated in the survey – Dentists (23%), ENT specialists (19%), Pediatricians (16%), Ophthalmologists (14%), MBBS Doctors (12%), Diabetologists (11%), Others (5%)
- More than half of the doctors (52%) stated that the patients are highly compliant to the prescribed medications, while only 4% are the least complaint.
- When the doctors were asked the most common barriers that influence medication compliance, 23% stated the medication cost, followed by fear of adverse side effects (17%), inadequate knowledge of the drug and its use (17%), poor patient-physician communication (16%) and long term drug regimen (14%)
- 29% of the doctors stated that identifying and addressing the problems related to medication adherence, followed by improved patient-physician communication (27%), assessing adherence during consequent follow-ups (20%) can provide an effective method to improve medication compliance
- 48% of the doctors stated that the patients are moderately compliant with their follow-up plan, while 32% are highly compliant.
- The majority of the doctors (45%) stated that patients visit for follow up only when their condition worsens, while 30% visit randomly
- When the doctors were asked factors affecting the follow-up plan, 51% stated lack of awareness, followed by the cost of treatment (35%)
In our survey, most of the doctors stated that the medication cost, fear of adverse side effects, inadequate knowledge of the drug and its use and poor patient-physician communication are the most common barriers that influence medication compliance in their patients. They also mentioned that the lack of awareness and cost of the treatment are the two main factors that affect the follow-up treatment plan.
Although patient education is the key to improving compliance; the use of compliance aids, proper motivation and support may help to increase compliance to medication and follow up a treatment plan. Certain tools/apps can also be introduced where the patients are educated on adherence, set reminders, receive refill alerts, know the side effects, etc.
Therefore, a single method cannot improve compliance, instead, a combination of various techniques like identifying and addressing the problems related to medication adherence and improving patient-physician communication should be implemented to improve patient’s compliance with their prescribed treatment.
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