The “Noncompliant Patient” Misnomer

Having written on numerous occasions about the ‘noncompliant patient’ misnomer (most recently in 2015 for The Arnold P Gold Foundation Non-compliance explained…and what healthcare leaders can do about it and prior to that in 2010 for Hospital Impact in The bane of many physicians: The “non-compliant” patient

… I was thrilled today to find the NY Times article from 2012 When the Patient Is ‘Noncompliant’ by Danielle Ofri, MD; which is still very poignant and spot on.

Dr. Ofri shares: “Improving adherence is a team sport,” Dr. Steiner adds. Input from nurses, care managers, social workers and pharmacists is critical.

I would add it also requires an authentic relationship, trust, and an understanding of the patient’s whole story (which will highlight barriers to adherence, i.e., cannot afford prescription; mental and/or emotional barriers; other socioeconomic factors; more).

And with this understanding, along with empathy and compassion, together the patient (and family as appropriate) and physician can co-create a care pathway which better positions the patient for adherence, optimal care, safety and optimal outcomes.

Above all shaming and blaming a patient who is not adhering is not the answer.

We can (and must) do better.


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