Increasing Patient Adherence with a Little Reminder

For patients with chronic diseases, it's important that they adhere to medication prescriptions from their doctors. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes they need a little reminder.

For patients with chronic diseases, it’s important that they adhere to medication prescriptions from their doctors. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. For whatever reason, patients don’t always follow the doctor’s orders.

“Patient adherence has gained increased recognition for its essential role in treatment efficacy,” according to “The effect of reminder systems on patients’ adherence to treatment.” “Failure to follow the recommendations of healthcare providers limits the achievement of therapeutic goals.”

Patient adherence can lead to a better interpretation of treatment efficacy. But adherence doesn’t just benefit the patients. Non-adherence increases the financial burden on health systems. The reminder system explored in the article works best to combat unintentional non-adherence.

Patient, Preference and Adherence

In the article, published in , the authors used data from 11 published trials on measured adherence in groups receiving reminder notifications. What these studies showed was a “statistically significant increase in adherence” compared to the control group that received no reminders.

Typically reminder groups were averaging 11.9% higher in adherence than the control groups.

However, despite the fact that reminders can have a positive impact on patient adherence, cost effectiveness and long-term practicality would inhibit widespread use. Also, the success of this method might also rely on issues such as medication type and patient population.

“Repeated phone calls, text messages, beeper systems, or frequent follow-up appointments for relatively stable conditions require significant financial investment and manpower,” the authors wrote. “Repeated reminders may be viewed as intrusive rather than helpful.”

The authors did admit that they were unsure why reminders worked to increase patient adherence. The reminder could be serving as a memory aid for patients, or it simply could have been the knowledge that they were being monitor, which prompted patients to use their medicines.