Understanding Adherence: 5 Questions for Patients

Healthcare professionals and individuals with chronic health conditions understand that various factors can impact the level of adherence to a treatment plan, from lifestyle to side effects. Additionally, it’s clear that HCP relationships can affect a patient’s health journey, which may also impact adherence. Health Union’s white paper, Beyond the Treatment, Making the HCP-Patient Relationship Work: A Study Uncovering the Patient Perspective, explores those relationships in detail.

While it may seem like patients face a linear choice to either take their medication, like a “good” patient, or not take their medication, like a “bad” patient, it’s not always that simple. Furthermore, that thought process can be truly reductive of the hurdles patients may overcome to find a treatment plan that works for them. There are a variety of factors for HCPs to consider when communicating with patients. Factors that impact adherence include the patient-HCP relationship, from the time spent with HCPs to trust in HCPs, confidence in treatment, information regarding the medication, cultural beliefs, perceived severity, and health literacy.

Open, non-judgmental communication between HCPs and patients can foster an environment in which treatment plans are optimally developed. When it comes to defining the different aspects of treatment, adherence means adequately filling prescriptions; compliance is taking medication as prescribed; and persistence is the amount of time a person is on a specific medication or therapy.

However, the word “compliance” is not always well-received by patients, as it comes off as authoritative or militant; like a person of power is telling a patient what to do – and that they must comply. “Adherence” is often the preferred terminology, as it puts less onus on the patient. For more patient perspectives on the nuances of adherence, watch Health Union’s webinar: The Complexities of Adherence & Compliance.

To better understand the various life factors that impact adherence, certain questions may help create a more open line of communication between patients and HCPs. For 5 questions patients want to be asked, read the full article on health-union.com.