When discussing patient compliance, physicians refer to this as how well a patient follows your medical advice. This can mean how well they follow your advice when taking medication, or it can mean how well they follow your advice in using medical equipment and supplies, therapies, exercises and even self-care.
Your patient’s compliance shows you whether they are motivated to follow the treatment plan you have created to improve their health. Unfortunately, reports show that many patients, as many as 75%, are non-compliant in one way or another.
There are many reasons for non-compliance, and not all of them are on purpose, rather they are accidental. Some of the reasons include the need to take multiple prescriptions throughout the day, lifestyle difficulties, confusion over whether they have already taken medication, and sometimes they simply forget.
Other reasons for non-compliance can relate to difficulty ingesting medicine and lack of patient education and awareness leads to them not knowing the importance of taking medication. Side effects of drugs can also be a factor, while others simply hate going to the pharmacy and waiting on a prescription.
Non-compliance can lead to serious health problems. It’s important you do what you can to make sure your patients adhere to your treatment plan.
Dispensing medication is the top way you can help resolve non-compliance issues within your practice, helping your patients enjoy improved health outcomes.
Keep reading to find out how dispensing medication directly increases patient compliance.
Ensures Patients Receive Their Medication
Because many patients do not like going to the pharmacy, they may skip picking up their prescription altogether. They may even lie to you, telling you they have been taking them as prescribed, even though their health has not improved.
You have no way of knowing if your patients are taking their medications unless you prescribe them directly at the point of care. Dispensing gives you reassurance they have the medication needed to improve their own health and give you the opportunity to implement compliance reminders through your portal, phone calls, emails and even texts.
Furthermore, you can give your patients awareness on the importance of following their treatment plan.
Patients Understand the Importance of Compliance
Patients are typically told what to do and because they trust you, most of them follow your instructions. Some patients, however, need more than just an order. They need an understanding of why they need the medication and how it will benefit them.
If they do not understand their medicine, including everything from side effects to benefits, patients are more likely to stop taking their medication. It is when you take the time to educate the patient on their need for treatment, that they begin to take it seriously.
A pamphlet or brochure stapled to their prescription bag is not good enough. And asking them if they have questions is not appropriate. Your patients do not know what questions to ask.
It is up to you to make sure they have a clear understanding of their medication and with dispensing, you are given the opportunity to provide this service.
Easy to Understand Instructions
The simpler it is for a patient, the more likely they are to comply. This is especially true for instructions.
When you dispense directly to the patient, you stock medications in your office that are most commonly used among your patients. These medications arrive at your office in prepackaged containers. Prepackaging medication has many advantages for both you and the patient.
The labeling on each package contains simple to understand instructions. It tells the patient when to take the medication and each pill is individually packaged and dated so there is no confusion for the patient.
The patient has no problem remembering if they took their medication. If there is a pill still in the package matching the date, they will know to take their medicine. Instructions can also include time of day, potential side effects, and contact information if they need help.
Medication Matched with Patient Needs
Not every patient can handle swallowing multiple pills a day. Swallowing may be difficult for some who have smaller airways or struggle with taking pills or capsules. In addition, some patients struggle with opening and closing certain containers that hold their medication.
With dispensing, you can order medication and packaging based on individual needs of your patients. If your patient cannot swallow pills, you may choose to dispense their medicine in liquid or chewable forms.
If your patients find it hard to open or close the typical medication bottles, prepackaged medication sometimes provides simple to use blister packs. The patient will then only have to punch out the pill they need for that day.
Improves Caregivers Abilities
Some of your patients require caregivers to help them stay on track with treatment advice. This means they help them attend therapy sessions, help them use medical devices and supplies and help them take prescribed medication.
When caregivers are given tools to make their job easier, the patients are more compliant.
Dispensing directly allows you to provide education and awareness to both the patient and the caregiver. This means the caregivers receive your advice in-person rather than from the patient who may have forgotten part of your message.
Dispensing also gives caregivers a direct link to your office when they have urgent questions that are not considered emergencies, but still need to be answered.
Patients do not want to feel like they are just part of a herd, given the same treatment as the person before and after them. They know their symptoms are not the same as others. They want you to acknowledge this too.
Dispensing directly lets your patients know you are treating them personally, based on their needs and not giving them a generalized plan of action. When patients feel you are engaged in their treatment, they will engage in their treatment.
Once they become engaged, their health will improve. This can happen with the help of a direct dispensing model.