SIMPLE strategies to increase patient complianceCreated by:
I’m sure you have encountered the hard-headed patient. No matter what explanation you give, they only seem to follow up when their health condition has deteriorated already. Non-compliance to treatment follow up, medication adherence and lifestyle changes is an important concern that doctors need to do something about. I encountered this journal that advocates ways to increase compliance using the mnemonic “SIMPLE”
Simplifying regimen characteristics
Decreasing dose frequency by using a longer acting medication increases adherence to the medication regimen. This is particularly useful for the elderly population who commonly forgets to take medications and for those who live a very busy lifestyle. It’s also important to make sure that frequency matches the lifestyle of the patient.
This is actually basic. Physicians should spend time explaining a patient’s health condition and the rationale for each medication that is prescribed. Patient adherence to medication will improve if they are aware of its benefits to their health. Informing them of common side effects may potentially improve clinic follow-ups because they are aware what to watch out for.
Modifying patient beliefs
More often than not, patients cope with medical illness by denying the gravity of the situation. Doctors should take time to explain how serious their medical condition is and what should be done. Doctors should be also ready to recognize patient anxiety, fear and negative emotions related to their health condition. These issues needs to be addressed to improve patient perception on medical treatment.
Its important to establish rapport to gain the trust of our patients. If a good patient-doctor relationship is established, this will definitely improve compliance to treatment and follow up.
Leaving the bias
Studies show that there is no association between compliance to treatment and specific demographic factors such as race, gender, intelligence, educational attainment, marital status, occupation, income and cultural background. Healthcare professionals should maintain standard interactions with all patients.
Here are four questions that is recommended to assess adherence to medications. 1) Do you ever forget to take your medications? 2) Are you careless at times about taking medications?
3) When you feel better, do you sometimes stop taking medications? 4) Sometimes, when you feel worse, do you stop taking your medicine? If there is a compliance issue, doctors should determine the reasons why and create a plan of action based on these assessments.
In your medical practice, do you have other techniques that may increase patient compliance and to which subset of patients are these recommendations effective?