Nonadherence Is a Nonstarter

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Directions in Pharmacy, May 2015, Volume 2, Issue 2

Patient nonadherence to medication is a well-known problem plaguing health care. For this reason, many quality measures now focus on improving adherence.

Patient nonadherence to medication is a well-known problem plaguing health care. For this reason, many quality measures now focus on improving adherence. As medication experts, pharmacists are the obvious go-to health care team member to take the lead in finding and implementing solutions. Unfortunately, finding the right solution is no simple matter. That is why Directions in Pharmacy has dedicated its May issue to this important topic.

The reasons for nonadherence are as complex as the patients themselves. Co-editor-in-chief Troy Trygstad, PharmD, PhD, MBA, in his article on page 8, says that it is important to find the right intervention for a given situation. He asks, “Are all increases in medication adherence created equal?” In the push toward more patient-centered care, it is becoming increasingly clear that the answer to this question is a resounding “no.” According to Elizabeth Whalley Buono, BSN, RN, MBA, JD, tackling the nonadherence problem requires a truly individualized approach and collaboration among stakeholders. “The key to success lies with informed patient engagement,” she notes in her article on page 5.

Some pharmacists grappling with the hectic retail environment pace of nonstop prescription dispensing may say they simply do not have the time to focus on patient services, especially when those services are not reimbursed. Remarkably, many pharmacies are finding a way. For example, learn how Bob Lomenick, RPh, improved adherence and grew his business using a proactive, rather than reactive, business model (see page 12). He describes his approach as one that “liberates pharmacists from the knee-jerk process that pharmacies have used for years.”

In this era of collaboration, everyone has a stake in the game. Addressing adherence problems amidst all the other issues pharmacies face is a challenge, but one worth facing. The bottom line is, for patients to benefit from medications, they have to take them. Devoting resources toward improving medication adherence is a worthwhile investment, and the pharmacist is in a position to lead the charge. As Christy Whitlock notes in her article on page 15, “The true focus of pharmacy is not merely filling prescriptions, it is making sure patients understand what their regimen entails and that they are taking their medications as prescribed.” We couldn’t agree more.

Thank you for reading!

Mike Hennessy

Chairman and CEO