September 20, 2021
Medication nonadherence, which refers to patients not taking prescriptions as prescribed, is unfortunately common. It tends to occur more for those with chronic diseases. There are a variety of factors that impact adherence, from costs to misunderstandings to fear.
The consequence of nonadherence translates to strains and higher costs for chronic care management. As a result, patients can suffer more symptoms, increased comorbid diseases, and even death. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the medication nonadherence rate is 50% among those with chronic conditions.
Clinicians and other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem use various tactics to improve adherence, and a new study has some interesting insights involving chronic care notes in EHRs.
A study published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society revealed that the availability of EHR clinical notes can lead to more engaged and adherent older patients regarding chronic care management.
Researchers performed a cross-sectional survey of patient portal users from three healthcare organizations in the U.S. All those surveyed were 65 or older and had at least one clinical note from the past year.
There has been a misconception, with some research to support it, that older patients are less likely to use these online tools. However, this report serves as a contrast to those notions. Those in the survey had all read at least two clinical notes in the previous year. The researchers discovered that patients with two chronic conditions were more likely to report that reading notes kept them engaged in their health than those with one or no chronic conditions.
That segment also noted that this access assisted them with remembering their care plan and following through with it, which included their prospection medication.
Those reading the notes further recalled less confusion about their medications. The researchers acknowledge that older patients often forget their specific care plan. However, by having the ability to look up the notes from their visits, they have a valuable source of information.
In 2020, HHS introduced the Interoperability Rule with provisions to ease access to patient health information. While that’s critical, the study authors commented that patients would only realize benefits from this if it’s understandable by the patient or their caregivers.
The study’s demographics leaned toward educated, retired, English-speaking females. This suggests a probable high digital literacy. While the participants of this survey were not as diverse, they cited other similar research with more varied pools finding similar results.
The best practice is for healthcare organizations to enable easy access to patient information. They should also work on ways to educate and explain how to do this. Adding EHR clinical notes that are more in layman’s terms could also boost understanding. Access, plus easy comprehension, can drive more clarity and adherence.
Not all patient portals are the same. Some aren’t user-friendly, which leads to low adoption. To ensure that your patients stay engaged with their chronic care plan after the visit, implement a platform that works for you and them. ChartLogic’s Patient Portal goes beyond the standard portal. See how it works today.