Tips for Overcoming Non-Compliance In Your Patients
Posted by EyePromise on Mar 16th 2023
Patient compliance is a critical but difficult piece of the patient care puzzle. There are programs and software you can use to help increase overall compliance and/or retention, but patient compliance starts in the exam room. Lindsey Getz, a contributing editor for Optometric Management, shared a few actionable tips for increasing patient compliance starting with the prescription.
Understand the Barriers
Before addressing compliance, you should know what’s keeping your patients from being compliant. For some, it may be that they physically struggle to complete your prescription (can’t open the package, can’t swallow the pill, can’t manage the drops, etc.). For others, it may be forgetfulness or trouble adding it to their routine. Knowing what specifically is hindering your patients’ success can help you develop custom solutions for them.
There are a number of additional barriers to consider, like side effects, cost, and experience (i.e., patients don’t feel it working). You can even add questions to your pre-appointment paperwork such as "Have you had difficulty swallowing pills?" or "Do you have challenges using eye drops?" to identify potential hang-ups prior to making the prescription. Having answers to all these potential points of friction can help patients get on the right path sooner, which is better for them and you.
Setting the Tone
When you’re prescribing patients a specific care protocol, you need to educate them on why you’ve chosen this specific option. Remember, you’re the expert, and there’s a reason you chose this pathway for this patient. Educate your patients as to why you’ve selected this protocol for them (this language is important, but we’ll get to that a little later). Austin Lifferth, OD, FAAO, columnist for Optometric Management, explained that if patients don’t understand why they are prescribed a specific therapy, they are less likely to remain compliant.
While it’s important to be prescriptive and educational, it’s also important to be patient. Many times, it can be overwhelming for patients to hear that they have eye health issues. Dr. Lifferth added, “Just hearing the [words eye health issues] can be overwhelming. So, we need to be mindful that there is likely information the patient did not retain.” Keep this in mind for future visits and be patient and willing to repeat your prescription.
While you need to drive home the idea of a lifestyle change (eating better, exercising, taking vitamins, using drops, etc.), patients need to feel like this is something they can achieve. It’s not a two-hour long HIIT workout every day but try taking the stairs instead of the elevator threetimes a week to start. It’s not cutting out all snacks forever but try lightly salted almonds vs. potato chips. Whatever care protocol you’re prescribing, it’s up to you to make patients believe they can do it.
Reduce the Number of “To-Dos”
We’re all guilty of reading directions, realizing there’s “too many,” and either skipping ahead or just not using them at all. This type of instructional fatigue can happen for patients, too, especially when adding a new medicinal routine to their already busy lives. While not always your first choice, simplifying your prescription may be the best way to get your patients to comply.
Personalize Your Care
Remember earlier when we said that language was important? It all comes full circle right here! “For them” was the important part of that message because there is no “one-size-fits-all” care. It can and should be personalized based on a patient’s specific needs. Customizing care not only helps patients get the best results, but it also helps them feel like you’re listening to them, which can help build trust and, in turn, improve compliance. See, full circle!
There are many pieces to the patient care puzzle, and compliance is one of the most important ones. The conversation starts in the exam room, but you’ll need to understand the barriers your patients experience before incorporating these tips for overcoming non-compliance. EyePromise also has programs that can help you improve nutraceutical compliance. Along with a convenient home-delivery option, EyePromise will come in and train you and your staff so that you all can be confident in the education and prescription process.
To learn more, have your local EyePromise Regional Account Manager contact you!