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Medication Adherence [6 Tips to Help Doctors Help Their Patients]

What is Medication Adherence?

Medication adherence refers to whether the patient takes their medication in the time intervals, circumstances and quantity prescribed by their physician (e.g. one pill, once daily, after a meal), as well as for the time period suggested by the doctor.

Whether or not the patients adhere to the doctor’s recommendations when it comes to taking their drugs bears great importance in the process of healing or controlling many conditions (chronic or temporary), as well as for the overall well-being of the individual.

What makes patients more likely to adhere to physician’s suggestions?

All doctors are aware that whatever happens in their office is in their hands, but once the patient leaves the office, it is difficult to influence their decisions, when it comes to taking their medication in a timely manner and on a regular basis. 

Here are 6 tips that doctors may use in order to make sure their patients adhere to their prescriptions and suggestions.

1. The medication benefits and filling out the prescription

The first, and the most important step is to persuade the patient that taking the medication prescribed is in fact something they need in order to better their health. Another one is making sure they fill out the prescription. Having point of care dispensing available at the physician’s practice or clinic minimizes the risk of the prescription not being filled out by the patient.

Point of Care Dispensing enables physicians and clinics to offer patients the option to get their medications directly from the clinic (medication dispensing) at the time of their visit rather than having to take a separate trip to a pharmacy.

2. Motivation

It is important that physicians involve patients in a shared decision-making process around the use and selection of medications. This process is facilitated by educating the patient about their options and information about the prescribed medication. Patients who understand what they are prescribed and the purpose of the drugs are more likely to take them.

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3. Side effects

Discussing the potential side effects should also occur in the room, as if the patient starts searching for information online or reads unsettling information in the pamphlet, they will easily get discouraged, without having solid data about those potential threats to fall back on. Their concerns can be easily addressed during their visit to the doctor’s office.

4. Preserving the prescription and speeding up the authorization process

It is up to the doctor to think of a system to make sure that their patients will keep the prescription until the moment they are ready to buy their medication. Sometimes a piece of advice is enough, but oftentimes other measures have to be taken into consideration. Finding a system which can ensure that patients don’t lose paper prescriptions and medications are permitted by the patients’ health plans – should be a priority. 

When this fails, having efficient systems in the practice to change to permitted medications and to process preceding authorizations essential for the medication plans will help patients get the drugs they require more swiftly.

5. Retrieving prescriptions

The patient needs to retrieve their filled prescription from the pharmacy. They fail to do so almost half of the time. Patients often forget to pick up prescriptions, particularly when they are ambivalent about taking them.

6. Reminders

For some patients, namely those on many different medications or the elderly, we recommend medication lists and the use of pillboxes. 

Another great option is a free app that allows users to enter their medication information. The app provides customized education about their medications and alerts the user when it is time to take medications. 

DirectRx for your point of care dispensing needs

Whether you are an urgent care clinic, on-site clinic, hospital, work-comp clinic or physician practice DirectRx is more than willing to meet your needs related to the in-office medication dispensing system. 

We are experts at handling prescription delivery services for a variety of medication dispensing programs. Our system is easy to use, thus providing convenience to clinics and doctors.

Get in touch with us to find out how our expertise can serve your medical practice.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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