There's an interesting history surrounding the way that we think about patients completing prescribed treatments, and it has a real impact on the quality of care that we all receive.

Even as recently as a decade ago, most members of the medical community talked about something called "treatment compliance" - essentially, the idea was that patients had an obligation to comply with the directions of the medical team. If you didn't take your treatments, you weren't compliant. 

This is a pretty weird idea, if you take a step back. Aren't clinicians, after all, meant to be healthcare consultants, giving advice about your health and treatment in the same way that an accountant would help with your tax and financial strategy? (Fun fact: in the UK and Ireland, doctors are actually referred to as "consultants".) 

Would you apologize to your accountant for not following their advice? Of course not - if it didn't work for you, you'd simply tell them that you want a new plan of action.

Over the past little while, the healthcare community has started to move away from the idea of "treatment compliance", and in recent years we've settled on "treatment adherence". "Adherence" seems to be a bit less punishing, and allows for the idea that patients don't necessarily have an obligation to complete prescribed treatments. Still, though, the term seems to suggest that patients should really follow the directions of the medical team - otherwise, they're non-adherent. 

This is all a bit patronizing, of course. Patients and families often have very valid reasons for not completing treatments as prescribed - and if the advice of the clinician isn't followed, it may not be the right advice. 

At Folia, we want to change the tide of the treatment adherence conversation. We'd like to introduce the idea of treatment usage. Did you use the expected treatment? If not, why not? Data makes the healthcare world go 'round, and if you can keep a log of Why Not reasons, your rationale will be taken more seriously by not only your doctors, but by everyone in the healthcare community. This will lead to the development of treatments that fit better in your life, that you will use because they work for you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this little manifesto - and for tracking your Why Not reasons! Your opinion truly does matter - make it count. 

 

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