in the marketplace” of new physician payment models and exorbitantly priced
medications gives business value — besides being the right thing to do — to
helping make sure patients take their medications as you’ve ordered.
So says blogger Joseph Kvedar, MD, who’s looked at texting vs. mobile
apps as a way to help keep patients on track with their medications. In fact,
about half of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, according to
an article in Mayo Clinic
Dr. Kvedar suggests that while there are downsides to texting
patients, this method of communication is good for simple, one-time reminders
like medication refills and flu shots; for “short-term campaigns” for patients
taking infrequent medications; or for patients without a smartphone.
However, for more complex treatment regimens
that require long-term patient engagement, using mobile apps — they can be free
to download — is a better way to encourage patients to stay on track with their
medications. They can provide monitoring, notifications, and education.
In the Mayo Clinic article, the
authors offer these strategies to improve medication adherence:
- Steer patients to educational programs,
especially those that are disease-specific, or to reputable online resources.
- Involve patients in decisions about taking
medication, e.g., ask them what time of day they would prefer taking their
- For patients with poor health literacy or a
language barrier, provide pictorial rather than written instructions. Also, the
National Library of Medicine provides health information in various topics in a variety of
- Consider how patients’ economic status may
affect their ability to buy medications, and link them to financial assistance,
- Consider patients’ cultural beliefs and attitudes when discussing medications.
- Stress the immediate advantages of adherence if
you suspect your patient may be too “impatient” to stick with a long-term
See also TMA’s resource center on e-prescribing.
Published Nov. 15, 2016
TMA Practice E-Tips main page
Last Updated On
April 19, 2018