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Adherence Programs
Katherine Hancy
Tailoring patient-centric health advice through professional programs creates a dynamic where patients feel they can confide in their pharmacist.

Tailoring patient-centric health advice through professional programs creates a dynamic where patients feel they can confide in their pharmacist.

Like in many developed countries, in Australia almost 60% of its population have been identified as having low health literacy, resulting in increased use of health services and decreased treatment adherence, and leading to poorer health outcomes.1 Low health literacy is present across various demographics of age, socioeconomic level and ethnicity.

As easily accessible primary healthcare providers, pharmacists are perfectly positioned to provide tailored health advice and information to patients, with regular follow-up and review. With tools and programs at their disposal such as MedsCheck, MedScreen and dose administration aids, pharmacists can help improve their patients’ adherence and treatment outcomes by developing personalised, patient-centric regimes and systems.

Overcoming unknown barriers

An older male refugee who had been living in a rural NSW city was brought to his local pharmacy by his neighbour, who had noticed that he was struggling to manage his cardiovascular medications. The patient agreed to commence a Webster pack but still struggled to manage dose timings and frequency.

It was discovered during a MedsCheck that the patient could only read Arabic, so his pharmacy promptly ordered Webster header cards in Arabic for the patient, and his compliance improved immediately. The patient’s health is now stable and his medications are reviewed annually through the MedsCheck program.

DAA not only for the aged

A MedScreen conversation in a busy Canberra pharmacy identified a professional 30-year-old man who was having adherence issues with his antihypertensive medication, resulting in uncontrolled hypertension and headaches. The patient was keen to become adherent when he first commenced the medication, however was struggling to prioritise taking his medications.

On the suggestion of the pharmacist, the patient was started on an MPS roll for a number of his OTC vitamins. The patient found that the MPS roll was very convenient because it was compact and let him take a few doses when travelling for holidays or work, which improved compliance. As a result, the patient’s blood pressure has stabilised and he reports feeling more energetic taking his vitamins every day as well.

Confident to place confidence and trust

Patient health literacy and adherence to therapy can be low for a number of reasons across various demographic groups. Tailoring patient-centric health advice through professional programs creates a dynamic where patients feel they can confide in their pharmacist, who can then provide information and services that lead to positive long-term health outcomes.

1. Commonwealth of Australia 2014, Health literacy: taking action to improve safety and quality. August 2014, , accessed 26 July 2016.