Treatment adherence, defined as the extent to which a patient’s behaviors follow an agreed-upon prescription or therapeutic regimen, has a significant influence on your patients’ health outcomes. Low treatment adherence or non-adherence limits the effective management and treatment of chronic conditions, creating significant healthcare burdens, costs, and poor patient outcomes. (4)
What can practitioners do to encourage their patients to adhere to treatment plans and ultimately achieve their health goals? Read on to learn more about treatment adherence tips, and how Fullscript can support treatment plans for optimal patient outcomes.
Treatment plan tips for adherence
Outlined below are some simple strategies for enhancing your patients’ treatment adherence using Fullscript.
Download a summary of these tips.
1. Encourage patients to get involved in their treatment plan
During their initial visit, be sure to include your patient in the discussions regarding their new treatment plan. One of the most important steps in effective communication is to listen. Listen to your patients’ thoughts, preferences, and concerns, and thoughtfully answer any questions they may have. Including the patient in the discussions about their treatment plan, rather than simply telling them what to do, is a highly effective strategy for encouraging positive behavioral change and treatment adherence. (9)
Understanding the degree to which your patient is ready and able to make changes to their health is another important consideration to make. According to a Fullscript patient survey, 48.9% and 44.1% of patients felt some change, or a great deal of change, would be required in order to follow their treatment plan.
You can measure your patients’ readiness and ability to change using various tools and resources. To make the process easy for you, Fullscript has developed a collection of behavioral change assessment tools and worksheets, which are available to you in the Resource Library.
To learn more about behavioral change and how to support your patients’ long-term treatment goals, download the free behavioral change report.
2. Simplify the dose
Interviews of high-adherence generating practitioners indicated that 56% of them try to keep their treatment plans simple to avoid patient feelings of overwhelm and cost issues. To avoid overwhelm and the cost burden associated with purchasing multiple products, do your best to keep your treatment plans simple.
There are many strategies you can use to simplify your treatment plan, including:
- Reduce the dose frequency: Treatment adherence is higher when patients are advised to take single-daily doses rather than twice-daily doses.
- Suggest combination pills or multi-ingredient formulations: These formulations can cut down on the number of products the patient needs to purchase as part of their treatment plan. (2)
- Limit your recommendations: Patients may be more likely to order their supplement recommendations when their treatment plans include fewer products.
Did you know? High numbers of pills or high frequency of doses can quickly discourage patients, derailing their treatment plan progress. (3)(7)
3. Provide easy-to-understand educational materials
Enhancing patient health literacy through education is an excellent strategy for enhancing patient engagement and treatment adherence. (1) 40 to 80% of information provided to patients is often forgotten, and over half of the terms used by healthcare providers are medical, technical terms. (6) Enhance their understanding by providing verbal or written content tailored to the specific condition or other aspects of their treatment plan.
Callout: According to our recent patient survey, 23.8% of patients thought that receiving additional education materials would be moderately helpful, whereas 44.9% said that it would be very helpful.
Did you know that Fullscipt provides 150+ free educational resources within the Resource Library of your dispensary account? These resources, which include a collection of handouts, infographics, worksheets, and comprehensive guides, can be easily attached to your treatment plans. These evidence-based resources cover a wide range of topics such as supplement ingredients, health conditions, diet, and more, and are designed to accompany your treatment plans.
4. Use electronic reminders
Automated, electronic reminders such as text messages or emails can help encourage patients to stick to their wellness plans and reorder supplements as needed. Research shows that simply providing a reminder can improve adherence by 18 to 22%, and result in 10% fewer missed appointments. (5)(8) Fullscript offers default refill reminders, which prompt the patient to refill their recommendation before running out of their current supply.
5. Utilize cost reduction and rewards
Consider offering a personal discount in addition to any dispensary-wide discounts you offer, particularly for patients for whom cost may be a concern and barrier to adherence. For patients who have yet to start their recommendation, you also have the option to offer a first order discount to help encourage patients to place their first order. Increasing the discount, even by a small amount, can be the nudge some patients need to get started.
6. Track adherence
In the prescriptions tab in your Fullscript dispensary lives a dashboard that features the prescription adherence metrics for your patients. The treatment adherence dashboard allows you to view the percentage of patients who have not ordered their prescriptions and clearly displays specifically which patients haven’t ordered their prescriptions through your dispensary. Use these insights to encourage your patients to get started with their treatment plan, such as through a quick follow-up message or a small discount.
Did you know? For patients who haven’t ordered their initial treatment plan in the first seven days, Fullscript sends a short automated adherence survey. The survey helps provide insights into why your patients may not be starting their treatment plans, be it due to cost, feelings of overwhelm, or other prohibiting factors. You can view patient feedback in the adherence dashboard.
The bottom line
Encouraging treatment adherence is essential for helping your patients achieve their best health outcomes. Fullscript offers a variety of tools to enhance your patients’ treatment adherence and ease the process of creating treatment plans.
Are you new to Fullscript? Learn more about what Fullscript can offer you and your practice.
- Ampofo, A. G., Khan, E., & Ibitoye, M. B. (2020). Understanding the role of educational interventions on medication adherence in hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Heart & Lung, 49(5), 537–547. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrtlng.2020.02.039
- Conn, V. S., Hafdahl, A. R., Cooper, P. S., Ruppar, T. M., Mehr, D. R., & Russell, C. L. (2009). Interventions to improve medication adherence among older adults: Meta-analysis of adherence outcomes among randomized controlled trials. The Gerontologist, 49(4), 447–462. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnp037
- Ingersoll, K. S., & Cohen, J. (2008). The impact of medication regimen factors on adherence to chronic treatment: A review of literature. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31(3), 213–224. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-007-9147-y
- Jimmy, B., & Jose, J. (2011). Patient medication adherence: Measures in daily practice. Oman Medical Journal, 26(3), 155–159. https://doi.org/10.5001/omj.2011.38
- Kashgary, A., Alsolaimani, R., Mosli, M., & Faraj, S. (2017). The role of mobile devices in doctor-patient communication: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 23(8), 693–700. https://doi.org/10.1177/1357633X16661604
- Kessels R. P. (2003). Patients’ memory for medical information. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 96(5), 219–222. https://doi.org/10.1177/014107680309600504
- Nagata, J. M., Gatti, L. R., & Barg, F. K. (2012). Social determinants of iron supplementation among women of reproductive age: A systematic review of qualitative data. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 8(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-8709.2011.00338.x
- Thakkar, J., Kurup, R., Laba, T. L., Santo, K., Thiagalingam, A., Rodgers, A., Woodward, M., Redfern, J., & Chow, C. K. (2016). Mobile telephone text messaging for medication adherence in chronic disease: A meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 176(3), 340–349. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7667
- Zolnierek, K. B., & Dimatteo, M. R. (2009). Physician communication and patient adherence to treatment: A meta-analysis. Medical Care, 47(8), 826–834. https://doi.org/10.1097/MLR.0b013e31819a5acc