Patient Compliance: a big headache for physicians, with lessons for support

I like to point out the many parallels between medicine and support, since they both involve a patient/customer and a physician/support engineer and they both require a combination of  technical skill and soft skills. And this is also true of the painful challenge of patient compliance: the likelihood that the patient/customer will follow the advice of the physician/support engineer.

Patient compliance statistics are surprisingly hard to come by since medicine is not set up with a reliable feedback loop, but it could be that 40% of patients do not use their medicines as prescribed, and even higher numbers do not follow appropriate proactive-health regimens. However high the numbers may be, medical researchers have identified a number of reasons why compliance fails to occur:

  • health literacy
  • health belief systems
  • forgetting
  • too much information
  • poor rapport between physician and patient
  • lack of trust
  • no patients’ involvement in their care
  • cultural gap between patient and physician

The RX is remarkably simple: get to know your patient/customer, explain the solution patiently and thoroughly, especially if you sense a conflict, and work on creating trust.

What are you doing to increase your team’s ability to elicit patient compliance?

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