Your patients want to trust that what you are telling them is correct. They want to believe that your numerous years in medical school, your residency and your clinical experience enables you to make their lives better.
While they may have confidence in your abilities, they may lack confidence in the medicine you are prescribing. And if they aren’t sure the medicine will help them, they are likely to avoid taking it as prescribed. They may not take it at all.
It is up to you, as their physician, to help your patients feel confident in the medications they need to take for improved health.
Boosting patient confidence in medicine can be done taking several actions on your part. Keep reading to learn what you can do to reassure your patients, so they will remain compliant with their treatment plan.
Typically, patients are given very brief instructions on how to take their prescribed medications. What physicians may not realize is that patients are often nervous during their visit with you. They recognize they have very limited time with you and they want to absorb as much information as possible.
However, what often happens is they miss a great deal of the information you provide.
Educating a patient should include you giving them information and instructions regarding their medication, all their medication, not just one. As you know, many patients take multiple prescriptions.
Once you give instructions, have the patient repeat back to you what they understood from your instructions. You may be surprised at how many patients are not able to remember all your instructions. If this is the case, repeat your instructions until you know the patient fully understands what to do.
Knowledge leads to confidence. The more educated your patient is, the more confident they will be that their medication is necessary.
Communicate Progress with Patients
Your patients may recognize that they feel better mentally or physically. But they may not be connecting their improvement with the medication your prescribed. They may think it is related to something else, like diet or exercise or other life changes.
Too often, patients will quit taking their medication when they begin to feel better. They think they no longer need the medication. This may be because you are not communicating with them about the elements of their progress.
Start contacting your patients after lab work, not only when there are negative results, but also when there are positive results. Reiterate to them that because they are taking their medication, their health is improving. Tell them exactly how it is improving.
For instance, if your patient takes medicine for diabetes and their lab work shows lowered A1C, share those numbers. Communicate the direct connection between them taking medicine and having better lab results.
Avoid Medication Interactions
Patients do not realize just how many dangerous drug interactions there are. They trust you and the pharmacy to give them this information. If you are relying on the pharmacist to explain interactions to your patients, you will be disappointed. And your patients may suffer the consequences.
Some of the consequences can be allergic reactions, physical and mental health issues, and even death.
If patients are given medicines that have the wrong ingredients, serious health hazards could occur. This could lead to malpractice or liability issues for your practice. The drug manufacturer could also be held responsible.
If your patients have negative interactions after taking their medication, they are not going to have confidence that the medication is necessary.
You can check for potential interactions and side effects, and to warn your patient ahead of time. Then, if your patient has an interaction, they will not be surprised or fearful. Instead, they will feel confident that the side effect will pass.
They will also know exactly what to do in situations such as these rather than trying to figure out a plan while panicking. They can remain calm and follow your orders, because they trust you.
Make It Easy with Prepackaged Medication
The more you can do to make taking prescriptions easy for your patients, the better results they will see, and the more confidence they will gain in taking medication.
You can make taking their prescriptions easy by using medication that is packaged in the simplest form. Prepackaged medication is an example of this.
With pre-packaged medicines, patients do not have to wonder if they have taken their medicines or not. The packaging tells them. This system keeps a person on track with their medicine schedule, allowing them to experience the full benefits of the medicines prescribed to them.
Calendarized blister packaging is becoming very popular. It has shown great improvements in patient outcomes. With specific dates on the packaging, patients know exactly when to take their medicine. Instructions are also provided as to when to call for refills.
As reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a study showed pre-packaged medicines with reminders had a positive effect on both patient adherence and outcomes.
Another study found that patients with diabetes benefited from pre-packaged medicines in keeping their blood pressure down and their glycemic levels in a healthy range.
Pre-packaged medicines can also eliminate errors with dispensing medicines that sound alike and look alike.
Boost Your Confidence First
When you are truly confident in what you are prescribing to patients, it will show. Your patients will notice you believe the medication will help them and they are more likely to follow their treatment plan.
On the other hand, when you do not have complete confidence in what you are prescribing, your patients will notice.
Take opportunities to increase your knowledge about medications, interactions and your patients. Yes, you are overloaded with work. But taking a small amount of time to truly study patient cases, to truly study their individual situation from lifestyle to environments, will give you the reassurance you need to make a diagnosis and decide on a medication.
Every patient is different. However, you can find ways to boost their confidence in medicine so both of you can enjoy improved results.