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What Most Docs Don’t Do: Counsel Patients on Drug Adherence

Feb 27, 2015

A survey revealed that only 48% routinely counseled patients when giving new prescriptions…

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A survey revealed that while 96% of physicians perceived drug adherence as highly important, only 48% routinely counseled patients when giving new prescriptions and only 58% did so during follow-up visits.

Physicians believe medication adherence is a critical factor in clinical outcomes for patients with chronic conditions, yet fewer than half include medication adherence counseling when prescribing new drugs, according to a survey by HealthPrize Technologies.

HealthPrize Technologies, a medication adherence and digital patient engagement company, surveyed 100 physicians on their medication adherence counseling practices for patients with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Key takeaways from the survey are shown below:

  • The vast majority of physicians — 96 percent — rank the importance of medication adherence to outcomes as an eight or above on a scale of one to 10.
  • However, only 48 percent of physicians reported they always include medication adherence counseling upon a new prescription. More physicians — 58 percent — said they always include it upon follow-up visits.
  • About a third of physicians estimated less than 10 percent of the prescriptions they write are never filled even once.
  • Thirty-eight percent of physicians estimated between 10 and 20 percent of their patients fill new prescriptions once, but then quit taking the medication within the first 12 months
  • Physicians rank co-pay discount programs sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and rewards programs equally for promoting medication adherence.
  • Most physicians — 42 percent — reported patients must be at least 90 percent adherent to medication regimens to benefit from that medication in terms of improved clinical outcomes.
  • The most common reasons patients don’t fill, refill or take their medications are they simply forgot, the benefits are too far in the future and it’s not a high enough priority.

Practice Pearls:

  • The reasons behind medication nonadherence are diverse and complex.
  • The prevailing historical explanations of simple forgetfulness and cost are the main drivers.
  • Cost and the experience of a side effect received the greatest number of "high Significance" responses.

See the full report here. http://healthprize.com/whitepapers/the-physicians-view-of-medication-nonadherence/