Have you ever had a patient who is not taking his medication properly? If you have not experienced it yet, then you are one lucky healthcare professional. But more often than not, you will be challenged by patients who fail to adhere to their medications, whether they do it deliberately or not.
Below are a few suggested ways to evaluate your patients’ adherence to medications:
1. Ask the patient
Apparently, you will never know if you do not ask the patient. But do not resort to just asking simple questions like “are you taking the medicines as prescribed to you?” Instead, ask open-ended, probing questions to get to know if the patient indeed follows the instructions on taking his medications.
2. Ask the patient’s family and friends
If the patient denies not adhering to his recommended medications and you are not convinced about his claims, do an MTM (medication therapy management) visit to talk to the patient’s loved ones, who are likely to give you honest responses on whether the medications are being taken correctly or not.
3. Check refill records
A sensible approach is to check the pharmacy if the medications are refilled or dispensed.
4. Little to no improvement
If the patient’s body is not responding to the medications, chances are good that he is not taking the medications as advised. Also investigate for adverse effects, as a lot of patients tend to stop taking their medications or reduce the dosage if they think the new drugs are causing the side effects.
If patients do not take their medications at the right time and dosage, then what is the point of spending money for meds? This makes it important for pharmacy professionals to conduct patient adherence to medication assessment—this helps you know if failure to take medicines on time is causing the patient not to respond to the prescribed drugs.