When it comes to the health of their patients who have chronic or long-term illnesses, one of the most difficult problems that physicians and healthcare professionals have to address is medication adherence. Does the patient follow the physician’s instructions when taking their medication? Do they skip medications? Do they take their medication at all? What is stopping them from taking their medication? These questions are critical to answer if you want to help your patients manage their illnesses.
With the right strategies, you can help your patients adhere to your instructions so that they can begin to manage their illnesses by themselves.
Address Cost Barriers
Many patients stop taking their prescriptions for the simple reason that they can’t afford to fill them. This problem is difficult to address for many reasons. First, the prices for many prescription drugs are seeing a steep increase this year. Many patients are also reluctant to say that they are having trouble paying for their medications. Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to help those who cannot afford their medications because they often have their patients’ trust.
Sometimes, fixing this problem can be as simple as informing them of a generic version of the medication they need to take. Doctors are also more likely than their patients to know which pharmacies offer the best prices, so they can help advise them where they should fill their prescriptions. If it comes down to it, physicians can also help their patients prioritize the medications that are the most important.
Encourage Patients to Use Technology
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, researchers demonstrated that technology can help to drive medication adherence. The researchers wanted to determine whether cell phone and smartphone engagement tools would help patients adhere to their medication regimens. In the study, 80 participants responded to text messages 84% of the time. These texts were sent to them daily and asked whether the patients had taken their medication.
What this study also shows is that technological tools can help to remind patients to take their medications. You don’t need to text your patients to ask whether they took their medication for the day. You can, however, help them use their cell phone to set up a reminder for the day and time that they need to take their prescriptions.
Help Them Create Reminders
As the above study points out, technology won’t help everyone. The study shows that older, non-white patients are less likely to engage with technology. For those patients who won’t or can’t use technology to remind themselves when to take their medicine, offering these simple strategies might help:
- If the medication is to be taken with a meal, keep it in plain view in the kitchen.
- Use pillboxes to organize weekly medication
- Start a journal to record the day and time that the medication was taken.
- Use visual and textual cues, such as sticky notes to help with adherence.
Using these strategies, you can help your patients get the medication that they need.
Contact Granny NANNIES Miami Today
Do any of your patients need help with medication adherence? The compassionate caregivers at Granny NANNIES Miami are happy to help. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can become referral partners.