Cancer Patients and Pharmaceutical Compliance

January 23, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

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Recently, Dr. Jose DeJesus of Physician Entrepreneur reported that many patients are opting not to heed all of their doctor’s orders when it comes to prescription medications. Some of the reasons cited include the skyrocketing cost of prescriptions, the breakdown in communication between the doctor to patient and poor education from the pharmacist.

From Pharmacy Patient Satisfaction and What it Means to Physicians:

33% of patients admit that they did not fill all their NEW prescriptions in the past year. Now not refilling a prescription is a different issue but not refilling a NEW prescription means that the patient either decided they couldn’t afford the medication or that it wasn’t important. What’s wrong with this picture? In either case, there is a lack of communication between doctor and patient. Here’s an obvious opportunity for 66% of physicians to improve this area of doctor-patient communication.

Dr. DeJesus also hit on one of my biggest annoyances with prescription medication — waiting for the pharmacy to have them filled.

Patients also put a high importance on convenience, safety, accuracy, privacy, and hate waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. These all represent opportunities for those entrepreneurial physicians that practice in those states that permit them to fill their own prescriptions. This is a way to improve patient satisfaction, patient compliance (especially for elderly patients and those who for have difficulty travelling to a pharmacy), and to distinguish yourself from other physicians.

Last week, my husband and I finally come home after he had spent a few weeks in the hospital. We walked out of there with a fistful of prescriptions from several teams of physicians, but the explanations were short and lacking in any real depth. We just drove to the nearest pharmacy to drop the slips off, and stopped by the next day with the hopes that they wouldn’t drain our bank account.

While my husband does not have cancer, he was diagnosed with a chronic condition that will require life long medication. In my opinion, there could have been much more done to help build the culture of trust required to ensure high patient compliance. Sharing literature about the prescriptions BEFORE being discharged from the hospital would be one easy step in the right direction.

Cancer patients and survivors: Have you ever decided not to follow through with your doctor’s prescription treatment plan? If so, why? Please share your stories in the comments!

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One Response to “Cancer Patients and Pharmaceutical Compliance”
  1. Alex Sicre says:

    The numbers for medication non-adherence are at an all time high, especially with chronic diseases. 53% of people on medication do not take them properly, with 64% citing simple forgetfulness as the reason. There are economic factors, as well as side effects, but there is a solution for forgetting to take your meds:

    Intelecare provides patients and caregivers a platform to create their own medical reminders and have them delivered as their lifestyle demands: email, text, and voice. Unfortunately we can’t help those who do not fill their initial script, hopefully ePrescribing and mailed prescriptions will eliminate this one day!

    Sorry to hear of your husband’s illness. Good luck!

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