Patients with physical and mental health ailments seek relief through interactions with a wide range of health care practitioners. Assuming that accurate diagnoses are made and effective forms of affordable treatment are available, then prescribing remedial and curative interventions should produce desired outcomes. A major problem is that some patients fail to adhere to recommendations and the result is the occurrence of highly significant kinds of costs that affect not only them as individuals, but also their caregivers and society as a whole.
An ongoing concern is the high cost of health care and what can be done to pay for it. According to the March 2019 issue of the journal Medical Care, medication nonadherence for diabetes, heart failure, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension resulted in billions of Medicare fee-for-service expenditures, millions in hospital days, and thousands of emergency department visits that could have been avoided. If the 25% of beneficiaries with hypertension who were nonadherent became adherent, it is estimated Medicare could save $13.7 billion annually, with over 100,000 emergency department visits and seven million inpatient hospital days averted.
Patients and health professionals enter into a transaction at the point of care in which both sides are in a position to gain or lose in various ways. Clinicians benefit from the opportunity to practice their knowledge and skills while simultaneously being able to obtain a livelihood through payment for services rendered. The health status of recipients of care may improve by symptom reduction, pain relief, and contributions to enhancing overall wellbeing.
Both sides of the equation must function in responsible ways for outcomes to be of optimal worth. Caregivers need to go beyond the provision of hands-on care by educating patients about the purpose of an intervention and ascertaining that these individuals fully understand their personal roles in taking medications properly, following dietary recommendations, and achieving satisfactory levels of physical fitness. Many aspects of care are volitional on the part of patients. Whereas being treated with hot packs or receiving a massage tend not to require much active patient involvement, a considerable amount of health care entails patient consent from the perspective of their needing to know why certain procedures are warranted. These individuals also must demonstrate both resilience and a willingness to cooperate in what is being furnished.
Some patients may lack adherence because of the unaffordability of medications, but other factors, such as low health literacy may be more pertinent. It is common today for patients to receive telephone and text messages reminding them of an upcoming appointment with a health professional, but less seldom are messages aimed at determining follow-up levels of patient understanding and adherence to recommended protocols. Although it is relatively easy and comforting for practitioners to assume that adherence occurs, the truth may be otherwise. As a potential downside, it is worth noting that a failure by nonadherent patients to show improvement can result in increased dissatisfaction on the part of caregivers that possibly contributes to feelings of burnout, a major issue in health care today.
More Articles from TRENDS March 2019
PRESIDENT’S CORNER—ASAHP MEMBER FOCUS
Curt Lox, Dean, Brooks College of Health Professions at the University of North Florida, is featured in this issue of TRENDS. Read More
FEDERAL BUDGET RELEASE AND PROPOSED LEGISLATION
The Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget for FY 2020 and legislation is introduced in Congress involving higher education. Read More
HEALTH REFORM DEVELOPMENTS
Discusses: the introduction of the Medicare For All Act Of 2019; an effort to repeal the ACA medical device tax; a bipartisan initiative to reduce health care cost growth; and a bill to prevent health care fraud. Read More
DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Describes: Senate and House hearings on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), a proposal from the White House to reform the HEA, negotiated rulemaking by the U.S. Department of Education, and a judicial ruling on final regulations pertaining to borrower defense to repayment regulations. Read More
QUICK STAT (SHORT, TIMELY, AND TOPICAL)
Selected Estimates Based On The National Health Interview Survey, January To September 2018
Electronic Health Behaviors Among U.S. Adults With Chronic Disease
Use Of Toilet Seats To Detect Chronic Heart Failure
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AVAILABLE RESOURCES ACCESSIBLE ELECTRONICALLY
Emerging Technologies To Support An Aging Population
School Success: An Opportunity For Population Health
CARE Act Implementation: Progress And Promise Read More
IMPACT OF MARIJUANA LAWS ON HEALTH AND LABOR SUPPLY
Provides information about the effects of state medical marijuana laws on the health and labor supply of adults age 51 and older, with a focus on individuals with medical conditions that may respond positively to treatment involving marijuana. Read More
GLOBAL SYNDEMIC OF OBESITY, UNDERNUTRITION, AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Refers to a proposed rationale for international-level policy interventions that have the potential to mitigate harmful health consequences associated with these three problems. Read More