Patient compliance in healthcare is the extent to which patient behavior matches the prescription of healthcare professionals.
Patient compliance can not only improve the health of the patient but is also essential in reducing the pressure on the health care service providers.
Non-compliance is a problem which not only affects patient health but also costs the healthcare institutions and the whole economy.
In this article, we will discuss how patient compliance is important in healthcare and how non-compliant behavior costs a lot.
What Is Patient Non-Compliance?
When a patient needs medical attention, he goes to his physician, and the physician after the check-up may prescribe him some medications or treatment.
The medication period may vary according to the severity of the symptoms. When the patient starts taking medication he may feel some improvement and after a few days, he senses that there is no need to complete the course of this treatment when I am feeling better now.
The problem starts from here, without knowing the complexity of the disease, the patient stops taking the medicines.
Definitely, this is not the only reason there are multiple reasons behind the non-compliance behavior of the patient but this whole scenario is telling us how important is patient compliance.
By following the advice of the healthcare experts a patient not only recovers swiftly but there are chances that he may be relieved from the disease completely.
Reason Behind Patient Non-Compliance
The most common non-compliance behavior has been seen when the doctor prescribed any medicine and the patient left that medicine. There are multiple reasons behind some of them are described below:
Patients Usually Forget
One of the most common reasons behind the non-compliance behavior of the patient is that they usually forget to take medications. It also depends on how many times the patient had to take the medicines.
The more the frequency the greater are the chances that patients forget to take medicine. Medicine can only show effective results when it is consumed timely by following the prescription of the physician.
Physicians and patients can work together to resolve that matter. The physician should control the frequency of the medicine when possible and patients should set some reminders.
Moreover, it is the responsibility of the health professional to tell the patient how important it is to take their medicines on time and what consequences they can face if they forget to take the medicines.
Symptoms May Disappear
It’s common that when you feel unwell, you may go to your doctor for a check-up and ask for treatment and the doctor may prescribe you some medications.
You will take that medication until you feel that you may recover now and there is no need to further use that medication.
So patients usually stop taking the medication without completing the complete dose recommended by the doctor.
Surely the patient gets some recovery but he is not fully recovered and there are chances that the disease may come up with more severe symptoms.
The financial burden is one of the reasons behind the non-compliance behavior of the patient.
Patients also avoid medicine after having some early recovery by assuming that the medicine is very much costly and regular intake increases their expenses.
It is the responsibility of the healthcare worker to talk with the patient about his financial condition and then recommend a less expensive substitute for that drug.
No Signs of Recovery
When the patient feels that there is no improvement with these medicines and treatment, he stops taking that medication.
There are chances that he may also switch his physician. It is a fact that some diseases need proper care and demand a long-term mediation process to show some signs of recovery.
On the other hand, most patients want a swift recovery and they are impatient so they fail to follow the guidelines of their physician. Which not only increases their expenses but also makes them vulnerable to facing serious consequences of that disease.
Lack of Communication
All the above non-compliance behavior is due to the lack of effective communication between the physician and the patient. Many healthcare experts failed to understand the nature of the patient.
The physician should ask him about their daily routine, the reason behind skipping the medicines, and the side-effects of the treatment and affordability of the medicine.
All these practices conclude that effective communication is very essential in this perspective.
Patients should also realize that the physician is there in their best interest, so they should trust them by following his instructions and recommendations.
Lack of Medical Literacy
Health illiteracy is one of the main reasons behind the non-compliance behavior of the patient. It must be obligatory everywhere.
A person who is aware of his medical condition can show better signs of recovery compared to the one who is not aware of the disease.
Healthcare professionals have a role there, they can better educate the patient about the symptoms and the severity of the disease.
Every patient wants immediate results so they failed to completely understand the treatment and relevant procedures, which cost them a lot. So it’s crucial that patients must have some medical literacy to better treat their symptoms.
Improving Patient Compliance
Patient compliance can only be improved by finding the root cause behind it. So far we have seen some of the reasons behind the non-compliance behavior among the patients.
In this section, we will figure out some ways for improving patient compliance.
The first step in improving patient compliance is to educate the patient about their condition. By promoting health literacy we can simply improve patient compliance.
Encourage the patient to take the medicines according to the prescription. This role is not specifically associated with the physician. We should also encourage the family members, friends, and support group of the patient to help him follow his routine.
Talking about the financial condition of the patient is very essential now. The physician should ask the patient about his financial condition.
In this area, drug manufacturing companies should also balance the prices of some essential drugs and make them available for the general public at affordable pricing.
Lastly, patient compliance is a broad phenomenon. It not only affects patient health but also puts a burden on healthcare institutions. A compliant behavior is essential not only for patients but for the whole healthcare system.