Through blogs and comments, patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

The Complexities of Non-Compliance


Treating patient non-compliance is a hot and frequent topic in health care blogs. ' This eye-catching infographic from Stephen Wilkins at Mind the Gap illustrates the connection between non-compliance and impaired doctor-patient communication. ' In his graphic, Stephen points out that 'Doctors tend to overestimate the amount of information they give to patients, and underestimate how much information patients really want. ' Information giving alone does not increase patient adherence'[patients] also need self care skills.'

What are self care skills?'  Dr. Stewart Segal of LiveWellthy'  thinks that knowing how to advocate for yourself is one.'  Segal sees this particular skill as essential and urges patients to tell their doctors if they think his or her advice is unreasonable: ' 'If you disagree with what we ask of you, tell us.'  If you don't understand what we are saying, ask us to explain it better.'  If you can't afford help, confide in us.'

However, patients' efforts to comply with treatment plans can be equally frustrating. ' After a terrible reaction to a drug meant to boost her immune system, breast cancer patient Ann Silberman couldn't bring herself to take her next dose.'  She writes, "I became a non-compliant patient... I couldn't put myself through that pain and illness two days in a row."'  A few days later Ann cut the dose in half, hoping to avoid a similar reaction, and planned to discuss the side effects with her oncologist at her next visit.'  Was she simply non-compliant or was she making an informed decision about her health care and course of treatment?

What does compliance mean and how does its meaning affect the way we perceive and engage with health care?'  In Engagement Does Not Mean Compliance, Jessie Gruman takes on the term and explains, "I am compliant if I do what my doctor tells me to do.'  I am engaged, on the other hand, when I actively participate in the process of solving my health problems."


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Conversation Continues feature ongoing discussions or news on current health topics with links to related materials.  They are part of the Center for Advancing Health’s portfolio of free, evidence-based coverage of what it takes to find good care and make the most of it.

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Patient Engagement   Conversation Continues   Participate in your Treatment  

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