What is Patient Compliance and How Does it affect Patient Healthcare?

It is internationally approved that patient noncompliance results in major health complexities and multidimensional issues. According to an estimation, around 50% of patients do not take medications on time and do not follow up with their healthcare provider as advised. Noncompliance also includes dosage, timings, and frequency of the medication compromising their health. This is why it is mandatory to understand what is patient compliance and why it is important to maintain a patient’s health.

What is Patient Compliance?

In simpler words, patient compliance can be referred to following the practitioner’s advice and adherence to the level where the prescribed treatment or diet is followed and the patient will reappear for the treatment and follow-up after the first visit or procedure.

On the other hand, when all concerns are associated with improving patient compliance, there’s no such solution that fits all. Because every patient and their circumstances are dissimilar. Many reasons back this scenario why patients do not adhere to the prescriptions. Some believe that medicines will create side effects and may have the potential of worsening any other health complications associated with them. Others doubt whether the medication would work; some do not take them on time and some forget to even take them.

Due to noncompliance, admissions to nursing home increase up to 10%-25% and this non-adherence costs the United States healthcare industry over $100 billion each year. In addition, medication costs of US healthcare are estimated to be increased up to $100 to $289 billion annually if the neglect remains the same. This does not stop here, they estimated medication costs are expected to increase further in the next coming future. However, healthcare practitioners are working to find out the reason for this consistent non-compliance and how can the expected rate be reduced to a manageable limit.

Side Effects of Poor Compliance

Side Effects of Poor Compliance
Source: lakeviewpharmacy.com

Treatment routines will only affect a patient’s health if they are willing to follow a treatment plan. Noncompliance eventually leads to hospitalization, relapse, aggravation of the disease, escalating the cost of treatment, and even the risks of death.

When patients are immensely suffering emotional disorders, nonadherence to medication or treatment regimes will progress to the hypertensive state which needs antihypertensive medication which apparently increases the risks of stroke and the spike of cardiovascular disease.

Patients may face a range of challenges for medicine compliance as some of them are mentioned. But all of them can be barely addressed. Contrary to people’s belief, teenagers and elderly individuals have a major part in the noncompliance rate. Patients, normally do not have complete information about their suffering, and yet they make assumptions to quit the treatment procedure.

As the reasons for poor compliance can be numerous, some of them are discussed below.

Cognitive Impairment

Patients of elderly age have a range of cognitive impairments that hinder them from keeping up with the medication on time. The fact that older adults have multiple ailments for which they may have to take multiple medications to treat each one of them so their cognitive confusion results in adverse effects of not taking or overdosing on medication.

Lack of Knowledge

Compared to people who understand how medicines perform in maintaining their health, people with a lack of knowledge mainly reach non-compliance. It is imperative to understand the long-term side effects of non-compliance at every level of disease.

Adverse Effect

Oftentimes it gets irritating for patients to follow a regime that initiates discomfort. Certain treatments are there where adverse effects are associated with the class of drugs. Because of this, patients subside compliance.

There are solutions that need to be discussed with the patients and practitioners can play a vital role in motivating patients to medication compliance. One of them is to design a tailored health plan for each individual patient that comparatively motivates patients to adhere to and collaborate in maintaining their own health. Some others are discussed below;

How to Motivate Patients for Medicine Compliance?

How to Motivate Patients for Medicine Compliance
Source: domf5oio6qrcr.cloudfront.net

Understanding the Behaviors of the Patient

Healthcare providers must understand that even if patients are willing to adhere to the medication, they can still face challenges in other areas. This may include taking and filling prescriptions along with the affordability constraints. However, creating an environment where patients openly and honestly speaks about themselves, would be helpful.

Creating Awareness

If patients have doubts about certain prescriptions that may backfire, creating awareness prior to providing medication will reduce the chances of drug reactions. Plus, what is the possibility of side effects, and if they do occur, do they need interventions? if they do, how the treatment plan would change and resolve the issue? These queries would also be addressed by the provider while creating awareness.

Consider Patient Financial Constraints

The financial status of the patients is also considerable in many situations when all you need to motivate patients for adhering. Providers need to find out if they can afford the prescription. Making sure that patient would comply with the advice, providing awareness about company-based pharma-plans and state-based medical assistance plans, and pharmacies that provide 30-day supplies of medicines that are widely prescribed by the physicians.

Eliminate Complexity

Reducing the complex medicine routine will also help patients to follow medicated advice and to take medicines on time. One of the best practices that providers can follow is to prescribe combination medicines that can be taken once a day instead of multiple doses with different passages of time.

Technology can also help

Technology can create a lot of ease in increasing patient compliance percentage. Pillboxes, automatic pill dispensers, alarm watches, and automatic timers can be of great help to those who forget to take medicines. Pillbox – Bluetooth software can provide nonadherence information to physicians which can be tracked to identify health issues.

Taking Follow-ups

Using reminders via emails, texts, phone calls, and direct mail can help prior to follow-up visits so that care management would make it possible. Providers need to ensure that their patients know why adherence to medication/prescription is necessary even when they are recovered.


Compliance with the medication will eventually benefit the patient. No matter what, there’s always a solution to reduce the risks of an adverse healthcare state. Providers and patients both need to work in healthcare management.