Concept "Compliance"

Whoever goes to the doctor usually comes out of the consultation with a prescription in his hand. Taking the prescribed tablets, observing bed rest or even the recommended walk are among the therapeutic measures that should promote recovery and healing of the patient. Compliance with these actions is called "compliance".

Lack of therapy compliance in Germany

The English term "compliance", which means as much as consent or subservience, is called in German usage "therapy compliance". Accordingly, there is also the opposite term "non-compliance" in medicine, which always falls when treatment recommendations are not followed. Whether and how patients follow their doctor's recommendations and instructions depends on a variety of factors.

However, the non-compliance causes in any case significant costs for the health system: the statutory health insurance estimates the annual cost of 5.4 billion euros.

What prevents patients from following the instructions of their doctor?

There are many factors that hinder compliance: for example, it is often the shape and composition of the drugs that are responsible, if the prescribed ½ tablet crumbles regularly during dissection, the patient easily loses his appetite and prefers to take the tablet. Taking the medicine with meals is a science in itself. Too often drugs are taken with foods that prevent the absorption of the drug.

Some patients are too confused or too ill to follow the medication correctly. In many cases, for example, depressive patients are reported who find it difficult to take their medication regularly.

Virtual nurse

These questions are primarily the pharmaceutical industry in demand, which has to take care in research and development to revenue forms and dosages. Some innovative approaches already exist: the manufacturer of an antibiotic has taken advantage of the fact that many patients already have a cell phone today.

With the prescribed antibiotic, the patient receives a separate information about the SMS reminder service that the manufacturer offers together with the doctor and pharmacist. Via a PIN, the patient can contact a server and from then on is regularly reminded by text message about taking the tablet. The reminder service of the "virtual nurse" ends with the last tablet; the corresponding data was encoded and stored at the time of registration.

An entirely different aspect of compliance or non-compliance concerns the communication between doctor and patient. The doctor must know the living conditions of his patient in order to be able to tailor the therapy measures individually and specifically. He must listen to his patient properly and educate him to cooperate. After all, it should be prevented that therapeutic measures are not adhered to, because there are timing difficulties or because the patient was not sufficiently clear about the necessity of the actions.

In addition, written explanations, brochures, and possibly a subsequent conversation, which the doctor may be able to guide by telephone, also help.

The involvement of life partners and family members is also important: Motivation and guidance for therapy compliance, especially with lengthy treatments, are often easier to achieve in the family.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist

However, compliance also means not simply continuing to take medication after the treatment has expired or, worse still, taking it next time without medical advice. The request for communication is two-pronged: the patient should also talk to his doctor or pharmacist and not simply swallow any medications from the medicine cabinet. In addition, it is advisable to durchforor the medicine cabinet regularly and dispose of expired medications.

Some medicines are very sensitive: for example, opened eye drops should not be used after 6 weeks because they may be contaminated with bacteria. To communicate with the doctor here comes the dialogue with the pharmacist, who is the competent partner for the cleansing of the medicine cabinet.

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