Greek Doctors’ views and strategies to improve patients’ adherence to medication

Published May 5, 2022

Published in Hormones (2021) 20:603–611

John Yfantopoulos, Academic Co-Ordinator University of Athens MBA in Health Care Management Athens, Greece.

Marianna Protopapa, Athens Medical Group and University of Athens MBA

Athanasios Chantzaras Hellenic Health Technology Assessment Committee Greek Ministry of Health

Platonas Yfantopoulos University of York and University of Athens MBA

Medication adherence greatly affects the effectiveness of treatment and, consequently, health outcomes, and patients’ quality of life. The objective of this study was to explore Greek doctors’ views on their patients’ adherence. A structured questionnaire was addressed to 199 doctors across Greece. Most of the doctors (76.1%) reported that non-adherence is in large part voluntary. They also maintain that adherence is directly connected with patients’ worries about treatment, e.g., the possible side effects (63.8%), as well as with patients’ views on whether they need treatment (55.3%). As far as barriers are concerned, almost half of the doctors reported that the most important barriers were the lack of integrated care and the limited resources to promote adherence programmes supported by the state. Designing and implementing health reforms promoting integrated care, especially during periods of austerity, economic recession, and pandemics, is, admittedly, a challenging public health undertaking. Investment in integrated care saves resources and improves adherence. Other reported barriers are related to Doctors’ workload, inadequate training, and lack of financial incentives. Lack of integrated care was significantly related to lack of adequate public resources (Correlation coefficient (r = 0.318), p < 0.001), and lack of doctors’ training (Correlation coefficient (r = 0.321), p < 0.001).

Doctor patient relationship

An important factor influencing the doctor-patient relationship is the time devoted to each patient. Doctors who are willing to spend more time with their patients discussing the effects of medicinal treatment appear to provide greater encouragement to their patients to play an active role in their treatment by adopting a more positive and constructive attitude towards medication adherence. With regard to the application of special diaries or electronic and other reminder systems, the doctors, though mindful of possible practical problems causing non-adherence, do not suggest the use of these to their patients. The results of our analysis demonstrate the necessity for targeted policies related to patients’ treatment adherence by taking into account the patient’s personal needs, habits, and lifestyle. Adherence is a dynamic concept that requires continuous intervention through innovative and well-documented health education programs. Please read the full article here.
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