Stop Blaming the Patient: Systems Thinking Could Address Medication Adherence

July 23, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Systems thinking may be the key to addressing medication adherence, according to the authors of a commentary in the July 2018 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, addressing findings published in the same issue. Traditionally, some place the blame for medication nonadherence on patients, the authors of the commentary say, noting that "the classical view assumes that patients are careless, poorly informed, or simply too stubborn to fill their prescriptions." This, the authors say, is "an inadequate explanation." The reality is more complex. Patient factors do come into play, the authors say, but poor adherence also results from barriers outside the patient's control. Some may be unable to obtain medicine because of travel-related issues or because the pharmacy keeps inconvenient hours.

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