The shifting demographics of the population and increasing skill in treatment of chronic disease in this country have combined to make compliance a topic of greater salience than ever before. General issues of compliance are a necessary background to specific issues of compliance with regimens for single diseases such as hypertension. The definition of compliance continues to be modified, and examination of past work reveals certain consistencies in studies of compliance. Non-compliance is higher in chronic conditions, in activities requiring change in life-style, and in clinician-initiated visits. Noncomprehension of instructions is held to be the most frequent cause of noncompliance. Noncompliance is a threat to the course of treatment, increases unnecessary diagnostic procedures, and confounds evaluation of effectiveness. Factors related to compliance have been identified with regard to certain patient and disease characteristics, amount of support in the immediate environment, and the nature of the doctor-patient relationship. Older patients are often at greater risk in understanding regimens because clinicians educate this group less often, because symptoms are misunderstood by both patient and provider, and because of greater complexity in both conditions that are being treated and number of drugs and other aspects of treatment required. Methods of improving the doctor-patient relationship have been urged most recently as a means through which compliance can be increased.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association