Communication is the Key to Medication AdherenceJeremy Whiteley
More and more articles studies seem to be researching and publishing that Communication with your doctor, pharmacist, or even with your benefits manager are the key to your medication adherence. The two most recent are the one published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) titled with the same name as this blog, Communication is the Key to Medication Adherence. The other is published by Modern Medicine (Voice of the Pharmacist) in an article called Collaboration may improve medication adherence.
I’m not writing this to disprove their findings. It’s true that doctors and pharmacists are a wonderful font of knowledge and that discussing your set of medical issues with them is good for everyone involved. But that’s about understanding of your medical situation. All of the studies that we read online and in journals (typically while sitting in your doctors waiting room) point to greater and greater understanding and reliance on the doctors and their understanding of this research.
Have you ever discussed this stuff with your doctor(s)? I do. I bring my doctor new information every time I go in for a checkup. My doctor is great. He reads a lot of stuff… but even your doctor cant keep up with it all. There’s too much information. And it’s likely to change even more in the future. Your pharmacist too. Every time I have a chat with my pharmacist its because I have a new medication and they have to meet me at the window to see if I’m informed on interactions and if I understand dosages and such. Have you ever watched your pharmacist at work? He or she is extremely busy. They simply cannot keep up on every single medication breakthrough. So, then, how do you suppose that your doctor or your pharmacist is going to be the person that reminds you to take your meds every day?
These studies send us the message that communication with our healthcare professionals is the key to adherence. I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t rely on them to be there to hold your hand. Communication is the key. Why? Because it’s so very easy to forget to take your meds on time, every day. The real issue is to find a way to be reminded when you forget. Don’t wait for somebody else to remind you to take your meds.
Rely on yourself. Listen to your body. Your doctors, pharmacists and even your benefit managers can’t be there all the time for you. Don’t expect that they will.