In the healthcare sector, there are many ways to apply compliance for the patient. Most of the healthcare providers and organizations think that compliance with the guidelines and the policies provided by the government, and in the case of private providers, compliance with the payers is necessary. Another significant area in terms of concern is patient compliance. An alternate word for compliance that is used widely, is adherence. The terms may sound synonymous but are not. To know the difference, it is a must to understand what is patient compliance?
This is because not only providers but patients also have to comply with a range of suggestions and orders given by doctor(s).
What is patient compliance in healthcare?
Oftentimes, when there’s a talk about patient compliance in healthcare discussions, it consists of a plethora of emotional and physical behaviors of a patient that persuade the direction of the treatment positively or negatively.
These behaviors involve modifying lifestyle, medicinal changes, diagnostic alteration, and any sort of therapy. Besides, to be healthy and treated completely, a patient needs to be honest with a healthcare professional who has an accurate idea of their condition.
Therefore, to be treated well and get out of certain post-surgery or accident issues or during the initial or final medical sessions, compliance is essential.
How big medical issues non-compliance can initiate?
A World Health Organization (WHO) research report cited by The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association showed that annually 125,000 people die just because they do not take medication seriously according to their doctor’s prescription. Also, the report explained that these numbers are increasing each year. The surprising element of the report showed that they all suffered treatable ailments. Not only this, but the report reveals that ten to twenty percent of the cases each year in the nursing houses and hospitals are the reason for patient non-compliance. Plus, 50% of the chronic disease prescriptions are not followed as instructed, and 40% of patients do not make necessary adjustments to their lifestyle and follow treatment regimens.
According to 95 studies involved in the literature on Patient Engagement Hit, it mentioned that;
“By and large, patient adherence to preventive screenings was low. Fifty-five percent of all patients across the 95 included studies were adherent to their lung cancer screening regimens.”
The reason for that can be a racial change. Like people with race or color differences might not get insurance easily and lack proper screening. In addition, the less access to medical facilities which many of them cannot afford keeps them behind from accessing preventive treatments for chronic diseases like cancer and Hepatitis.
So why is patient noncompliance getting worse? Several things are there that have changed rapidly in the past few years in medical history. Also, with the moderation in advanced medical sciences, medical treatments have been expanded dramatically.
In the same way, when a patient visits a provider, the way they approach a medical plan, they make their mind whether to follow them or not. For example, due to the use of the internet to an endless extent, the ones who have been diagnosed with some problematic issues, gather information from infinite and authentic sources with high-quality information easily. Plus, joining groups of people suffering from similar health issues is making everyone aware of the medical terms. All in all, they all influence a patient decision of making personal choices.
According to the American Medical Association, examples of patient noncompliance which is also known as patient non-adherence include a myriad of reasons which they feel are valid.
Fear of Side Effects
Mostly, patients perceive fear of moving to a new range of medications. They feel that these new medicines may backfire and deliver side effects. However, providers do not prescribe medicines without knowing the health history of a patient.
Inability to afford medicines
As mentioned earlier, sometimes it’s the race and color difference that keep patients from receiving federal financial cushions. Both Medicare and Medicaid have a range of requirements that many individuals lack to meet. And this is why a person who is not capable enough to live to the fullest, cannot afford the price of medicines. For the reason of limited resources and high costs, affording medical treatment for lingering chronic diseases is impossible.
Lack of understanding
Patient’s noncompliance also comes into play when medications are not taken at their specified time and regularly. Due to endless reasons either they forget to take medicines regularly or they leave taking them after a certain time assuming that they are completely treated. This often happens when they lack the symptoms. When they stop the medication, after some time, they begin to experience the same health issues again. Medicines are effective for a longer time when they are taken regularly and according to the prescribed duration.
Worrying about addiction
Patients often worry about being addicted to medicines. The thought easily leads to quitting medicines after they start experiencing a lack of symptoms of their serious health issues. Along with the additional thoughts, depression from taking a lot of medicines can also prevent patients from adherence.
Things to apply to improve compliance
Fierce healthcare association describes four important ways to improve patient compliance;
- Discussing the severity of the ailment – It is an essential part of the treatment and educating patients about the severity of the disease that may increase if they show non-compliance. Providers should build trust and explain how quickly they can recover if they comply with the suggestions and follow proper care actions.
- Helping patients in determining their obstacles – Doctors should encourage patients in identifying their barriers. Making a strong doctor-patient relationship can lead to determining solutions for certain health complications that a patient thinks will trigger if they comply with the medicines for a longer period.
- Treating depression – doctors should also help patients in treating depression. Having a lot of medicines for multiple decisions can bring depression and a lack of desire to have them regularly. Doctors can help patients get rid of depression by taking effective measures.
- Assist patients with technology solutions – If doctors think that a particular disease can be treated by therapy or any other solution other than medication, then they should recommend their patients. With this, their depression and anxiety can be minimized. Plus, patients will be treated more effectively.
To conclude, patient compliance is directly attached to patient engagement engagements. Doctors and medical health professionals can only suggest medicines and offer their best to treat patients. But in the end, it all boils down to how a patient is willing to comply with them.