We all want to feel well and be well. Good health and well-being are common goals leading most of us to seek medical intervention when we suspect something may be not quite right. Receiving a diagnosis involving a chronic disease can be life-changing. With any diagnosis there can be new routines, new medications, and new challenges. All of this can seem overwhelming, especially early on in the journey. It is important to remember to reach out and ask for help whenever you need guidance, encouragement, or whatever your unique situation may call for.
One of the greatest challenges we face as patients is that everyday life is full of activities, obligations, and events that require our attention. Unplanned distractions can throw our routines off track and derail the best intentions. When routines are disrupted it is easy to forget or put off doing things, especially activities such as taking medication. This is known as medication non-adherence and while the reasons for non-adherence can be varied and complex, the most common reason is forgetfulness or procrastination.1 Non-adherence can be an occasional occurrence, a chronic pattern, or a combination of both behaviors.
Medication non-adherence includes prescriptions never filled, prescriptions filled but never started, medication doses missed, incorrect dosages taken, and medication stopped too soon. Each of these actions has the potential to negatively affect health outcomes and quality of life. Many chronic medical conditions continue to progress, often without noticeable symptoms, when untreated or inadequately treated. Consequently, disease progression may not be recognized until significant damage has been caused resulting in hospitalization, lost wages and higher healthcare costs.
Engaged patients using well designed, discrete medication adherence tools such as AppaGrapha increase their likelihood of increasing their medication adherence scores. Taking prescribed medications as directed has been shown to decrease direct and indirect costs associated with non-adherence. Addressing medication non-adherence reduces hospital admissions, emergency department visits, office visits, time out from work or school, and the resulting financial impact allowing patients to experience better health outcomes and quality of life.2