Adherence Programs

Medicine adherence is of critical importance for a number of very compelling reasons:

  • Quality of life: Patients who don't take their medication as prescribed take longer to get better, suffer decreased quality of life and increase their risk of complications or even death.
  • Cost: Non-adherence often results in more medication being needed in the long run, resulting in greater cost. It has been estimated that up to 10% of total health costs in the United States can be accounted for by medication non-adherence.
  • Contagion: When viral load (for example with HIV) is not brought under control, there is increased potential spread of infectious diseases. The risk of contagion can often be reduced by better medication adherence.
  • Antibiotic-Resistance: There is a long-held belief that by not finishing a course of antibiotics, any surviving bacteria can more-easily develop antibiotic resistance, which means that the medication becomes less effective as time passes

Adherence programs can be put in place around other types of interventions too, for example multi-session educational interventions. Whatever the objective, there are a many different techniques that can be used to promote adherence. The following diagram shows some of these, strating from the automated, to the very time-consuming:

* CCW = Community Care Worker

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