Improving patient treatment adherence has always been a crucial point. Improvement, however, does not depend on more frequent contact, but on increased patient awareness and empowerment and on developing home services for support, drug administration and adverse event management.
The importance of adherence to treatment on patients and the health care system
Patients that abandon prescribed treatments compromise, primarily, their own health, but also bring about significant economic consequences on the health care system. Most likely patients are given a new therapy to follow, thus creating further costs without any guarantee of real improvement. Notwithstanding these negative consequences, according to WHO, nearly 50% of patients with chronic diseases do not take their medicine correctly.
How can this statistic be improved? The education and empowerment of patients plays a key role in providing them with skills that can improve their lives despite health conditions. The key is to avoid passiveness in patients by coming up with services that give them a proactive and collaborative role, motivating and involving patients in their own treatment.
Support and training in the patient’s home for adverse event management
The following are some services offered to patients through Domedica’s Patient Support Programs:
- Medication administration at the patient’s home
- Practical and emotional support
- Prevention, side-effect management and adverse event management
Medication administration has already been spoken much about in a specific article. This normally refers to medication the patient cannot or does not want to self-administer, such as intramuscular or intravenous injections, or pharmacologic therapies that can be administered with the help of auto-injectors, but which require specific training. After a brief training period provided by Domedica, the patient becomes autonomous and can administer the prescribed drug on his/her own. This also helps the patient psychologically feel more active and involved in treatment.
Prevention, side-effect management and adverse event management is a delicate, yet fundamental topic. Side-effects and adverse events include any risk symptoms revealed by the patient that may or may not be related to the drug. For example, in the presence of adverse events, Domedica staff not only manages the event, but also adheres to the pharmacovigilance procedure, a standard procedure established by a specific law on adverse event management that states the event must be immediately reported to the pharmaceutical company, who will then report the event to the local health authorities. This procedure safeguards the patient and also provides useful statistical data for both the pharmaceutical company and the healthcare system. Adverse event management, which can be more or less serious, is fundamental not only for the patient’s immediate state of health, but also to reinforce the relationship of trust between the patient and his/her personal doctor.
Practical and emotional support focuses primarily on empowering the patient. Just like in a gym, there is an enormous difference between training with an exercise card and training with a personal trainer who offers guidance and motivation. The same is true for patients. Gathering and reading informative material on one’s own is not enough. Domedica offers extra support through its Patient Support Programs, which provide continuous aid, even at a distance, through “coaches”, who give advice on typical problems specific to the pathology that the person in the program has. These coaches give 360-degree guidance that not only regards treatment, but what to eat, what type of physical activity to engage in, what to wear, how to improve adherence to treatment, how to improve physical aspects for diseases that modify a person’s physical appearance, etc. The coach considers sensitive issues that affect every aspect of the patient’s life. This way the patient feels valued as a whole, and not just someone associated with a disease.
Like with adverse event management, in addition to helping the patient in a case-specific moment, emotional support is also formative and educational in that it teaches an important value- the patient is the first person responsible for his/her own quality of life and that a healthy and balanced lifestyle and full adherence to treatment can truly improve a patient’s life.
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