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By guest contributor Zipporah-Darvi Redding, A.S., RPhT, CPhT
Medication Adherence is defined by a patient taking their medications as prescribed or continuing to take their medications. Medication taking is behavioral and addressing patients that are non-adherent by providing support and resources can help lead to better outcomes.
The 13th Surgeon General of United States, C. Everett Koop M.D, said it best.
“Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.”
As health care professionals, pharmacy technicians can assist patients with improving their adherence by encouraging them to speak with their provider and pharmacist about their health and medication concerns as well as utilizing the 5 strategies listed below:
Use problem-solving skills to determine if patients are adherent with taking their medications as prescribed or continuing to take their medications. These are some ways of determining if patients are non-adherent:
There are various reasons why patients may experience barriers resulting in their not being adherent when taking their medications: side effects, cost of medication, transportation issues, forgetfulness, multiple medications with different daily instructions, health literacy, etc. It’s important to pay attention and find out what challenges the patients are facing to create open communication and provide resources.
Building rapport with patients is not only essential to creating a positive relationship, but it can also serve as an outlet to allow patients feel comfortable expressing their health concerns. Patients should feel like they’re in a judgment-free zone when they disclose their information. Using Motivational Interviewing — demonstrating empathy through reflective listening, avoiding argument, and providing support, self-efficacy, and optimism — is a technique that encourages health care professionals to be helpers in the change process in the behaviors of patients.
Members of a patient’s health care team include their physicians, pharmacists, specialists, and caregivers. Ask patients if they would like their health information to be shared with someone they approve — or consider their caregiver — so that there can be a collaborative effort to provide support and motivation with someone close to them. Be sure to have documentation of an authorized representative form or Power of Attorney on file allowing the pharmacy to disclose information to the approved person.
Offer resources to patients experiencing barriers to medication adherence. Listed below are challenges patients often face and the resources and tools they may find beneficial.
There are many other resources that can be found online and on mobile apps.
Which of these 5 strategies will you use first to help your patients improve their adherence?
Zipporah is the Pharmacy Technician Instructor for Florida Career College (FCC) at their Orlando campus. As a nationally certified and Florida registered pharmacy technician, she is an advocate for the profession of pharmacy and currently serves as a member of the Professional Affairs Council for the Florida Pharmacy Association (FPA) and of the Council on Technician Affairs for Florida Society of Health System Pharmacists (FSHP). Zipporah is a multiple award winner as FPA’s 2012 Technician of the Year, 2015 FSHP Pharmacy Technician of the Year, and the Next-Generation Pharmacist® Technician 2016 winner.
Zipporah has an active role mentoring, speaking, and volunteering as a member of TECO pharmacy technician program advisory committee. She also serves on the Keiser University Business Administration Advisory Board.
Zipporah is the owner of Prime Care Solutionz, which is a consulting, marketing, and administrative services firm primarily hosting conferences, helping pharmacy technicians & other allied health professionals expand their careers, improving pharmacy/business operations, and teaching professional development skills. For more information and interest please visit www.primecaresolutionz.com.