National Consumers League

Survey: Increased communication between patients, health care providers leads to better adherence

December 18, 2015

Results of the national Script Your Future campaign confirm theories of link between communication, adherence

Contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, cindyh@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—New research conducted for a national multi-media educational campaign to raise awareness about the importance of medication adherence shows that there are clear benefits and opportunities linked to increased communication between people who take prescription medications and their health care professionals, as well as to the use of tools that make it easier to adhere to medications. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR) surveyed patients for the Script Your Future campaign, in the campaign’s pilot cities before the campaign launched in 2011, at its midpoint in 2013 and again in 2015.  The new results, released today, demonstrate improvement in communication and adherence, particularly in the campaign’s target market cities.

Bringing together more than 135 stakeholder organizations, Script Your Future hasaimed to help people with chronic conditions—cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease (asthma and COPD), and diabetes—along with their families, caregivers, and health care professionals, to talk more clearly and effectively with each other about adherence. Script Your Future’s national outreach and targeted efforts in six pilot cities have reached millions through hundreds of local events, traditional and social media, educational programs by campaign stakeholders, and the campaign website, www.ScriptYourFuture.org

The surveys  in the six pilot cities—from 2011 to the present—show that, while Americans possess a strong awareness and acceptance of the importance of taking medications exactly as prescribed, there are clear benefits and opportunities linked to increased communication between people who take prescription medicines and health care professionals, and use of tools that make it easier to adhere to prescription medicines.

According to the GQR survey data: 

The link between communication and good adherence emerged as important early on in the campaign and continues to be crucial; those who report taking medications better than a year ago also are more likely to experience increased communications by health care professionals over the same time period, while those who report a worse job taking medications say they had seen decreased communications. The increase in communications from pharmacists has been particularly notable. Continuing to work to encourage communications between patients and health care professionals will be an important piece in continuing to promote awareness around adherence to medication.

“We are pleased at the results of this research, which confirm our hypotheses on the importance of good patient-provider communication, and validate the involvement of more than135  organizations that, through their collaboration and support, brought the Script Your Future campaign to life,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, the lead campaign organizer. 

The GQR research also found that those taking medicines in the pilot cities, where the campaign had specific outreach efforts, are significantly more likely than those in a control market to say they are taking their medicines better than in the previous year.

The Script Your Future pilot cities, or target markets, are Baltimore, Md.; Birmingham, Ala.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Providence, RI; Raleigh, NC; and Sacramento, Calif.

Key findings

Some key findings from the surveys of patients in the six pilot cities  include:

  • Americans who take prescription medications report a strong awareness and acceptance of the importance of adhering to their medications. A majority of Americans taking medications (55 percent) strongly agree with the statement “I am convinced that it is important for me to take my medicine.”
  • Self-reported levels of adherence to prescription medications have remained consistently high since 2011. More than 9-out-of-10 people who take prescription medicines (93 percent) now say that they “always” or “almost always” take their medicines exactly as instructed by their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. This is consistent with the high levels of adherence reported in both 2011 and 2013.
  • Nearly 1-out-of-5 people taking medications in the target markets say they are taking their medicines better than they were a year ago, significantly higher than in the control market. In the control market, just 12 percent of those taking medicines say that they were doing a better job taking their medicine as directed compared to a year ago; in the target markets, 19 percent of patients note that they are doing a better job with their medicines.
  • Better communication between patients and health care professionals connects to better adherence. Those Americans who report taking medications better than a year ago also are more likely to have experienced increased communications with health care professionals during that the same time period. Those who say that they are doing a worse job taking medications report a decrease in communications with health care professionals.
  • Americans taking prescription medicines report an increase in communications with pharmacists in particular. Thirty-nine percent of those who take medications report that pharmacists are now more likely to ask about problems with medications “every time” or “occasionally.” This represents a 6-point increase compared to the campaign’s inception. Importantly, the number of individuals in the target markets who say their pharmacist “never” asks about problems with medications has also decreased since 2011, from 50 percent to 43 percent.

View the: survey brief, full survey report, as well as individual target market analysis:

Baltimore | Birmingham | Cincinnati | Providence | Raleigh | Sacramento

 

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Script Your Future is a campaign of the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. The National Consumers League serves consumers across the country by providing government, businesses and other organizations with the consumer’s perspective on a range of concerns – including health care and medication information. As an advocacy organization, NCL is working to educate consumers and key health stakeholders on the importance of taking medication as directed. For more information about this campaign, visit ScriptYourFuture.org, and for more information on our other areas of focus, please visit www.nclnet.org.