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J Community Health. 1980 Winter;6(2):113-35.

Strategies for enhancing patient compliance.


Patient noncompliance is a substantial obstacle to the achievement of therapeutic goals. This paper reviews a number of practical interventions with demonstrated efficacy in enhancing patient adherence, including (1) improving patients' levels of information concerning the specifics of their regimens, reinforcing essential points with review, discussion, and written instruction, and emphasizing the importance of the therapeutic plan, (2) taking clinically appropriate steps to reduce the cost, complexity, duration, and amount of behavioral change required by the regimen and increasing the regimen's convenience through "tailoring" and other approaches, (3) obtaining a compliance-oriented history of the patient's prior experiences and present health beliefs and, where necessary, employing strategies to modify those perceptions likely to inhibit compliance, (4) improving levels of patient satisfaction, particularly with the provider-patient relationship, (5) arranging for the continued monitoring of the patient's subsequent compliance to treatment, (6) increasing staff awareness of the magnitude and determinants of the noncompliance phenomenon and attempting to develop an "active influence orientation" in each member of the health care team, (7) using such techniques as patient-provider contracts to involve the patient in therapeutic decisions and in the setting of treatment objectives and creating incentives (through rewards and reinforcements) for achieving these objectives, (8) arranging for as much continuity of provider (and other staff) as possible, (9) establishing methods of supervising the patient, including involvement of the patient's social support network, and (10) involving fully the assistance of all available health care providers, assigning specific roles and responsibilities for activities directed at improving adherence to treatment.

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