Study shows medication adherence improves through health coaching

Working one-on-one with a medical professional may improve the rate at which chronic condition patients take their medications correctly, according to a study published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. After participating in health coaching for a year, medication rates among patients with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol had increased.

The study looked at patients between the ages of 18 and 75 who had uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The patients were split into two groups, the first receiving health coaching for 12 months and the second continuing with their normal care. At the end of the year, adherence reported by the health coaching group had improved significantly while adherence reported by the usual care group did not improve, and in some cases, worsened by the end of the study.

Patients who participated in the health coaching reporting reported a 23 percent increase in the number of patients who reported taking their medications exactly as prescribed for at least five of the last seven days. The group that had continued with their usual care reported a 5 percent decrease.

Increased patient knowledge, patient counseling and active patient participation are already known to improve medication adherence. Health coaches may have more time to spend with patients, and this may have impacted the participants’ engagement with their treatment and influenced their medication adherence. The health coaches also worked with patients on healthy lifestyle changes, which also may have impacted change.

The study cites statistics about the high cost to the U.S. healthcare system caused by medication nonadherence. About half of medications prescribed for chronic conditions aren’t used correctly, which contributes to more than $200 billion in avoidable costs to the health care system each year.

For more information about how Tria Health works to improve medication adherence among our patients, visit our website.

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