Getting Better Health Care – Patients only take half their prescribed medication!
Last week, we began a discussion of health services research with John Piette, Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan and Senior Research Associate at the Ann Arbor VA Center for Practice Management and Outcomes Research. On today’s show, Dr. Piette describes the problem of “poor adherence,” how patients don’t take their medication.
Poor use of medication is an enormous problem in our health care system, leading to bad outcomes for patients, needless hospitalizations, and high dollar costs. There are many reasons for poor adherence, including risks and costs of medication, patients not knowing what to do, forgetfulness, and the complexity of some treatment regimens. Even patients with severe disease who truly need the medication don’t take the medication. Dr. Piette describes how adherence is measured, including electronic monitors that record when patients open and close their medication containers. He also talks about work being done to help patients use their medications better.
You can find more information on poor adherence and how to do a better job taking medication in Dr. Steve Feldman’s book, Great Medical Care: The Handbook for Making Your Visit to the Doctor Better.