With 133 million Americans living with at least one chronic disease, taking prescription drugs is an increasingly important part of treatment for many patients.[i] Yet only 50% of patients take their medication as prescribed.[ii] To be fair, taking medication is challenging. It isn’t easy to understand complicated treatment regimens, deal with side effects, and remember to take medications at the right time, all while living a busy life. But for chronic disease patients, taking medication correctly couldn’t be more important. Non-adherence accounts for up to 50% of treatment failures and 25% of hospitalizations.[iii] At EveryDose, we know how hard it can be to stick to a medication regimen. That’s why we’ve compiled five of our best tips to help you stay on top of your medication plan and create healthy adherence habits.
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions
Navigating a visit with your physician often feels more challenging than it should. Doctors only spend an average of 20 minutes with patients, which leaves little time for asking questions and deciphering complicated medical jargon.[iv] It can be challenging to get the information you need to succeed with your medication habits. Come prepared with a list of questions to ask your doctor and make sure to take notes when they explain the specifics of your medication regimen. Bringing a friend or loved one along can eliminate some of the usual stress of a visit to the doctor and make you feel supported as you ask questions.
If your doctor or nurse uses the EveryDose Clinical Portal, great! It syncs to our mobile app, so your phone is auto-populated with the medication details you went over together. If your clinician doesn’t use our Clinical Portal, we can can still help – Maxwell, our AI-powered chatbot, can answer questions about side effects, drug interactions, and proper medication procedures right from the EveryDose app.
Combine taking your meds with a daily ritual
Life is hectic. Between going to work, cooking meals, doing laundry, and paying bills, finding time to take medications can feel impossible. Instead of adjusting your current routine for your medications, it can be useful to integrate your regimen with other routines in your day. For example, if you always brush your teeth around the time that you need to take your medication, try completing these two tasks together. Medications might be new to your daily routine, and introducing a new habit can be difficult. By combining a new habit with an old one, getting in your medication groove can become much easier.
With the EveryDose app, you or your doctor can set medication reminders for specific times throughout the day. By setting reminders that fit into your existing daily routine, taking medication will no longer be a hassle.
From online banking to online shopping, technology has made many aspects of our lives much easier. Why not use technology to keep track of your medications too? Smartphone apps are one easy way to stay on top of your treatment regimen. In fact, research shows that patients who use smartphone apps to keep track of their meds are 23% more adherent.[v]
EveryDose’s smartphone app makes it easy to stick to your prescriptions. Medication reminders and personalized nudges help you to always remember the time and dose of a specific medication. By marking the dose as completed, you (and your provider!) can then keep track of your adherence over time. Our app also keeps you informed by alerting you of potential drug interactions and providing the most important information about each drug.
Countless digital tools have been designed to help people simplify their lives. Using your smartphone to support your regimen is an easy way to make your medication routine a painless part of your day.
Keep your medication where you can see it
The old proverb, “Out of sight, out of mind”, takes on new meaning in the context of medication adherence. For people who rely on visual cues, not seeing their medication every day means they might not remember to take their pills. Keeping medications visible can be a useful reminder for you to take your medication. However, you can’t always rely on visual cues, especially if your medication has run out and you haven’t yet refilled your prescription. Studies show that 34% of patients don’t take their medication as prescribed simply because they ran out.[vi]
The EveryDose app sends you reminders before you run out of medication, so you can continue to take your pills without interruption. If you’re having trouble finding the most convenient pharmacy, Maxwell has you covered with directions.
Use your support systems
No one should have to go through treatment alone. Reach out to people in your support systems and enlist your loved ones to help keep you accountable and encourage healthy adherence habits. Research shows that leaning on support systems results in better adherence outcomes. When loved ones are included in the treatment process, patients are over 20% more adherent.[vii]
That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to share progress with friends and family right from our app. You can allow members of your support system to receive periodic progress reports. If you’re having a difficult time staying on top of your medications, your loved ones will be in the loop and can provide support and encouragement. If you’ve excelled at taking your medication, your loved ones will see your success and can congratulate you on a job well done.
Want to use our app to get in your medication-taking groove?
Cover photo by Unsplash
[i] Roebuck, M. C., Liberman, J. N., Gemmill-Toyama, M., & Brennan, T. A. (2011). Medication Adherence Leads To Lower Health Care Use And Costs Despite Increased Drug Spending. Health Affairs,30(1), 91-99. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2009.1087
[ii] Brown, M. T., & Bussell, J. K. (2011). Medication adherence: WHO cares?. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 86(4), 304–314. doi:10.4065/mcp.2010.0575
[iii] Kim, J., Combs, K., Downs, J & F., III, Tillman,. (2018). Medication adherence: The elephant in the room. U.S. Pharmacist. 43. 30-34.
[iv] Crist, C. (2017, November 30). The doctor will see you now – but often not for long. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-doctor-checkup-duration/the-doctor-will-see-you-now-but-often-not-for-long-idUSKBN1DS2Z.
[v] Contreras, E.M., Rivero, S.M., García, E.R., López-García-Ramos, L., Pastoriza Vilas, J.C., Suárez, A.B., Diez, C.G., Guillén, V.G., Claros, N.M., & Compliance Group of Spanish Society of Hypertension (SEH-LELHA) (2019). Specific hypertension smartphone application to improve medication adherence in hypertension: a cluster-randomized trial. Current Medical Research and Opinion, 35(1), 167-173, doi: 10.1080/03007995.2018.1549026
[vi] Phelan, J.E., Ergun, D., Langer, G., & Holyk, G. (2013). Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card.
[vii] Wu, J., Mark, B., Knafl, G. J., Dunbar, S. B., Chang, P. P., & Dewalt, D. A. (2019). A multi-component, family-focused and literacy-sensitive intervention to improve medication adherence in patients with heart failure–A randomized controlled trial. Heart & Lung. doi:10.1016/j.hrtlng.2019.05.011