Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Do physicians know whether patients are adherent?

Written By: Jason Shafrin - May• 31•16

Doctors have access to life saving medication for a number of illnesses.  However, the medication only works when patients take the drugs.  Are physicians able to determine which patients are adherent to their medication?  According to an article in JAMA Cardiology, the answer is ‘no’ for cardiology patients.

Forty (61%) patients reported rarely or never discussing their adherence to medication with their physicians. Of these patients, 8 (13%) had poor adherence and 36 (55%) had moderate adherence. Only 1 of the physicians of the patients with the poorest adherence correctly identified a patient as being poorly adherent.

In short:

Physicians acknowledge the importance of discussing adherence to medication with their patients, yet for many reasons these discussions are uncommon. More important, our study found a notable failure by cardiologists to correctly recognize which of their patients were nonadherent.

Medication adherence interventions are under-appreciated in terms of their importance in improving patient outcomes.

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One Comment

  1. kyle says:

    I went to a talk given by an underwriter for a Canadian life insurance company who used prescription refill adherence data to help assess mortality. If a person didn’t bother refilling certain drugs, the insurance company assumed the person was more likely to die prematurely. Not working in life insurance, I was a bit surprised to know they had access to and used that type of information.

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