« Media Influences Young | Main | Who do you trust? »

The Education of the Patient

Today in my public health class, we had an interesting discussion on chronic illness adherence, which is the compliance of patients to follow “doctor’s orders? such as taking medications or making lifestyle changes according to the recommendations from a healthcare provider. We looked at several facts as to why patients may not follow the recommendations such as environmental and personal factors.

What I thought was most interesting was the question “is it the doctor’s responsibility to educate the patient?. This question referred to a nice chart that explained the progression of a virus, such as the HIV virus, if medication is not taken 12 hours apart like recommended. I wondered if maybe the education is what more patients need to follow “doctor’s orders?.

This discussion reminded me of a NPR report that discussed how many patients taking statins to control their cholesterol would stop taking the medication after a year. It was a small study conducted in Colorado, but it found 2 main reasons why patients stop their medication: “they lack a clear understanding of how the medicines work, and they don't trust their health care providers?.

This drives in the point that we need to mend that once trusted relationship between physicians and patients. Maybe more education and simple explanations are all that is needed.

Report can be found at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96928250