Healthcare Practice Strategies - Fall 2013 - Innovate for Improved Patient Compliance

In today's evolving model of patient- centered care, patients who perceive themselves as partners in the healing process are more likely to make the right choices. Consider these four proactive strategies for encouraging healthy patient behaviors and compliance:

1) Use the right tools. Validated tools, such as the Morisky medication adherence questionnaire, can help assess the likelihood of noncompliance. The free online survey elicits information about how forgetful patients are, whether they believe they can stop medications once symptoms are controlled, etc.

2) Provide options. There's more than one diet for losing weight, and there's more than one drug to treat depression. Involve the patient in his or her own care by reviewing a reasonable range of treatment options — discussing the benefits and possible side effects of each.

3) Screen for readiness. Determine if a patient is ready for change by performing a "test close." For example, if a patient with uncontrolled diabetes says he's too busy to exercise, say: "It sounds like time has been your biggest concern when it comes to exercising. If we could find an exercise plan that doesn't take a lot of time, would you be willing to move forward?"
If the idea is acceptable to the patient, then you can move to the close: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you can adhere to this treatment regimen?" The answer would then either confirm the patient's commitment or invite further discussion.

4)  Schedule follow-up. Ask patients to follow up by phone or email in a week with an update on how the plan is working. Or, ask permission for you or someone on your staff to contact them and ask for an update. 

Healthcare Practice Strategies - Fall 2013

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