Patients Need a Game Plan for Hypertension

40% of patients with hypertension are nonadherent 1-2

What is the patient’s point of view?

The patient’s point of view is often overlooked. Here are some of the reasons patients are giving:

Fear of Medications

“I was afraid of the medicine because I was told that once I started to take it I would have to take it all my life.”

Side Effects

“I don’t like them (medicines), they have lots of side effects, they can make

you sick…I think that I might get worse instead of better.”

Patient Education

“He [doctor] sends you away with a few words, ‘here is your prescription’,

and that’s it.”

It becomes very obvious why 40% of patients choose not to take their antihypertensive medications. Research also suggests that the level of cardiovascular risk can be related to the level of adherence.

Put patients in charge of their game plan.

Patients need to be more involved in their health care. The only way to do this is to educate patients so they can be more active players. They need a game plan that will work for them. There needs to be better communication between the doctor, pharmacist and the patient. The research is clear that handing the patient the same sheet of written medication instructions at every visit is a waste of money. Patients just throw it out. And doctors toss patient education materials if they are not time-saving and practical.

Patient-centered health care will increase patient adherence.

Physicians and pharmacists are also more likely to spend time educating the patients when the disease gets severe. Ideas need to be given to providers so that they understand how to involve patients earlier in therapy.

The most effective programs will be:

  • Evidence-based
  • Provide both the patient and doctor with counseling tools that meet the varying patient education needs at different stages of therapy
  • Written in a language the patient can understand

Don’t overlook the patient’s point of view. It is a critical factor that must be addressed before patient adherence can ever be improved