“A fundamental change in medical culture” is needed

Europe

Author: Geoffrey ChangPublished: 8 April 2015

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A leading patient advocacy group is calling on health professionals to take more responsibility for improving medicine-taking behaviour among patients with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s.

The European Patients Forum (EPF) wants professionals to be trained in shared decision-making and in communicating effectively with patients about treatment choices and goals.

The EPF is proposing a change in attitude from ‘blaming the patient’ to ‘working with the patient for better health outcomes’ – along with a change in terminology from ‘compliance’ to ‘adherence’ – in order to promote what it describes as “a neutral description of patients’ medicine-taking behaviour.”

Setting out its position in a newly published paper, the EPF stated: “An important part of self-management is the effective administering of medicines. Many patients, however, end up not taking their medicines in the way the prescriber instructs them. It’s a safety issue that carries large costs and risks to both the individual and health systems.”

Kaisa Immonen-Charalambous, EPF senior policy adviser, added: “Patients want clear and comprehensive information on medicines, of course. But information is merely a support tool. Even more important is that the health professionals have the right skills and attitudes. They need to believe that involving patients in decision-making promotes trust and honesty, and ultimately leads to better outcomes. We need to move towards a fundamental change in medical culture.”

Read the position paper here.

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