Anton Emmanuel, from the Bowel Interest Group, provides practical steps for improving patient adherence to prescribed treatment and highlights the impact of training and tailored support.
A core principle of medical treatment is that patients will adhere to a therapy following consultation and prescription. Clinical trials are predicated on that assumption. The reality is far more complex. Multiple factors affect patients’ persistence with their treatment and these need to be taken into account by healthcare professionals (HCPs). However, checking that patients adhere with their therapy is not something that many HCPs are confident with. It can be regarded as questioning the professional-patient relationship which is based on Trust.
Increased pressure on the National Health Service (NHS) coupled with a rise in chronic conditions makes this issue a pressing one. Currently, patients are experiencing difficulties in accessing primary and secondary care,1 while simultaneously, chronic diseases are now responsible for 88% of the overall disease burden in the UK,2 and between a third and a half of all medicines prescribed for long-term conditions are not taken as recommended.3 The move towards integrated care systems for provision of NHS care offers the opportunity to embed good practice in terms of optimising patient information and, hence, improving adherence. The potential improvements in treatment outcomes would help manage demand for further healthcare while improving patient quality of life.
Understanding adherence obstacles
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