More about reducing treatment burden – this time from burden “caused” by patients

Dr. Michael Wolf and his team from Northwestern University have published an interesting article in the Archives of Internal Medicine looking at the complexity in medication intake. We had reported on a case like the ones explored in this study in our original Minimally Disruptive Medicine paper.

In this new study, the authors conclude that:

Many patients, especially those with lim- ited literacy, do not consolidate prescription regimens in the most efficient manner, which could impede adherence.

Although this study consisted of a simulated situation, it is indicative of patients approach to medicine use (without the assistance and input of other team members, such as a spouse which in my experience often assists with these tasks). In this study, patients with low literacy complicated their program!!  This means that the patient unwittingly contributed to increase their own disruption.

Arguably, this happens because patients do not have the knowledge, skill, or self-efficacy to treat medicine schedules as they treat picking up the kids or brushing their teeth.  These are activities they understand in their nature and consequence and as a result they can modify to make very efficient (like applying lean to your own life…lean consumption).  But this is not available to these patients regarding the meds.  As a result they overly complicate their routines!  Fascinating, and a great opportunity for minimally disruptive medicine.

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