Doctor, Patient Communication Helps with Prescriptions

Those who report taking medications better than a year ago also are more likely to experience increased communications by health care professionals.

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There are clear benefits and opportunities linked to increased communication between people who take prescription medications and their health care professionals, as well as to the use of tools that make it easier to adhere to medications, according to a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR) survey of 2,200 U.S. adults.

The surveys in the six pilot cities—from 2011 to the present—show that, while Americans possess a strong awareness and acceptance of the importance of taking medications exactly as prescribed, the link between communication and good adherence emerged as important and continues to be crucial.

Those who report taking medications better than a year ago also are more likely to experience increased communications by health care professionals over the same time period, while those who report a worse job taking medications say they had seen decreased communications.

"Our survey shows that patients are increasingly using mobile technology to help manage their medications," National Consumers League's vice president of health policy Rebecca Burkholder, told eWEEK. "While apps can be used to eat healthier, look up symptoms, and manage medications, it is still important for patients to have access to health care professionals to be able to ask specific questions they may have about their health, chronic conditions, and why it is important to take their medications."

Continuing to work to encourage communications between patients and health care professionals will be an important piece in promoting awareness around adherence to medication, the report noted.

More than 9 out of 10 people who take prescription medicines (93 percent) now say that they always or almost always take their medicines exactly as instructed by their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist—consistent with the high levels of adherence reported in both 2011 and 2013.

In the control market, just 12 percent of those taking medicines say that they were doing a better job taking their medicine as directed compared to a year ago; in the target markets, 18 percent of patients note that they are doing a better job with their medicines.

Americans who report taking medications more than a year ago also are more likely to have experienced increased communications with health care professionals during that the same time period.

Those who say that they are doing a worse job taking medications report a decrease in communications with health care professionals.

"It was most surprising how strongly patients responded to the tools that can help them adhere to medications, particularly those that increase convenience of getting and using medicines and ease of communications," Burkholder said.