Healthcare is transitioning to a patient-centered care model rather than a care model centered around illness. Evidence shows that adopting a treatment approach focused on the patient, leads to better health outcomes.
Patient-centered care involves making decisions while keeping the patient’s values, goals, and medication adherence barriers in mind. Involving patients and their caregiver in healthcare decisions can impact their adherence.
Let’s look at some of the different ways a patient-centered approach can improve medication adherence:
What Impact Does Patient-Centered Care Have?
A patient-centered approach makes patients more engaged in their care. Engaged patients are more likely to adhere to medication schedules and care plans, make healthier choices, and experience better health outcomes.
According to the Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes, and Needs (DAWN) Study—which evaluated patients’ well-being, self-management, and diabetes control—access to healthcare providers and positive relationships with said providers were associated with better well-being and diabetes control.
The study suggested that patients who had regular access to their clinicians and felt that they could confide in them were better able to address diabetes-related anxiety and improve their well-being. Additionally, positive relationships with clinicians were associated with greater medication adherence.
Ultimately, this study confirmed that it is not just access to the clinician that leads to greater medication adherence outcomes. Clinicians also need to fully educate their patients on their treatment options and involve them in treatment decisions.
How to Implement a Patient-Centered Care Approach
To have an effective patient-centered care plan, healthcare organizations need to be familiar with a patient’s goals, treatment beliefs, and any adherence barriers preventing them from taking their medication as directed.
Foster Communication with Patients
As seen in the DAWN Study, a patient-centered care plan is multi-faceted, and good communication between patients and clinicians is essential. A positive, supportive relationship can improve a patient’s understanding of their condition and help them feel more comfortable asking questions and discussing non-adherence, therefore helping clinicians discover adherence barriers and implement targeted interventions.
Build a Blame-Free Environment
Trust and empathy are essential to a patient-centered care plan. For a patient-centered care plan to be effective, providers must create a blame-free, nonjudgmental environment and assume patients will not fully adhere to their medications. A blame-free environment allows patients to feel more comfortable when discussing their medication adherence and removes any guilt they may feel if they missed a dose. Additionally, asking questions about a patient’s quality of life and mental health can impact how they feel about their relationship with their clinician.
Clarify the Condition and Treatment Plan
It’s common for patients to feel reluctant about communicating with a clinician when they do not have a supportive relationship. Approximately 83 percent of patients would not tell their clinician that they weren’t going to fill a prescription.
Additionally, many patients have difficulties understanding what their clinician is telling them and feel ashamed to ask for clarification. Therefore, being proactive and taking time to talk about a patient’s condition and medications in layman’s terms can go a long way toward building trust and preventing a patient from feeling ashamed.
However, it is not enough to inform patients of treatment options and the risks and benefits of different treatments. It is important for clinicians to also set and manage patient expectations for their treatment. Although this conversation may be limited due to the time constraints of an appointment, evidence shows that it can be completed efficiently during the appointment and result in positive outcomes.
How to Use AI in Patient-Centered Care
Artificial intelligence (AI) can be tremendously helpful in personalizing the patient journey. Many healthcare organizations—including pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health plans, and PBMs—are turning to AI to implement patient-centered interventions.
How does AI create an effective patient-centered care plan? AI continuously gathers and learns from new data about a patient. It synthesizes the information to optimize interventions and targets patients who will benefit most from these interventions. This allows a more proactive approach, leading to better adherence and health outcomes.
AI also personalizes patient outreach, which is an essential component of patient-centered care. Proactive communication and outreach sets the foundation for educating patients on the importance of adherence and ensuring they have the resources and support they need to be adherent.
That said, no two patients are the same, so a care plan that works for one person may not work for another. That’s why tailored outreach at the individual level is crucial for delivering patient-centered care.
AI can personalize outreach by providing recommendations for the content, timing, and frequency that will have the greatest impact for each person. Some patients may benefit more from SMS text messages, whereas others benefit from hands-on education. Either way, the message is tailored to the patient and is delivered in a cost-effective, efficient way that achieves better individual health outcomes.
Want to learn more about how AI-powered targeting and outreach can improve medication refill rates? Download our AI intervention case study to learn more about how pharmacy interventions made an impact on individual patient adherence.