Partnering To Increase Medication Adherence

L.A. Care needs your support to help improve and maintain medication adherence of our members
July 2014

L.A. Care is teaming up with you, our physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other professionals, to implement performance solutions to improve and maintain medication adherence of our members and we request your joint effort to make a difference for our members. In addition, a patient’s family members can also play an important role in helping to improve and maintain medication adherence.  

Medication Adherence pertains to the timing, dosage and frequency a member takes their medication in concert with how their physician or specialist has prescribed the medication.  The most common causes of non-adherence are:  taking the incorrect dose, taking a dose at the wrong time, forgetting to take a dose, and stopping a medication too soon.  Here are some tips on how you can help members “ad-HERE”:

  • Help
  • Explain
  • Remind
  • Encourage

Tips to Help Improve and Maintain Medication Adherence

Help the member understand the importance of taking their prescribed medication:

  • Health benefits when taken as directed
  • How the medication will benefit the member when taken as directed
  • Consequences of  NOT taking as directed
  • Available support of  a language interpreter, if needed, to ensure the member’s understanding

Explain details about the prescribed medication to the member particularly when newly prescribed:

  • What is the medication?
  • How it will help the condition being treated?
  • Medication instructions, i.e.,
  • Topical, ingested or injected, inhaled, etc.
  • The best time to take medication, daytime, bedtime, etc.
  • Whether the medication should be taken on an empty or full stomach
  • Crushed or whole
  • With liquid or food
  • Any special instructions
  • What are the common side effects?
  • Patient instructions if side effects are experienced
  • When to call your doctor
  • Length of medication treatment (acute vs. chronic)
  • Directions for refills and what to do when they run out of refills
  • What to do if a dose is missed
  • Instructions on possibility and timing of  tests or lab work that could be required as follow-up (For treatment of chronic conditions, certain medications, such as: diuretics, digoxin, seizure medicine, “ACE inhibitors” or “ARBs”, require a yearly blood test to monitor safety and efficacy.)

Precautions, as applicable; i.e.,

  • Restrictions from alcohol or other substances
  • Foods or juices to avoid
  • Drug interactions
  • Restrictions from use of machinery, driving, or other activity
  • Dosage limits

Remind the patient of important safety and adherence tips:

  • Keep medications out of reach  of  children
  • Do not share prescriptions
  • Do exactly as prescribed by your physician
  • Secure timely refills if required as part of  medication therapy
  • Where to learn more details about their prescription medication

Encourage the patient’s involvement in their own care and health through:

  • Reminders to take medications at the same time each day – with meals, before going to bed, or a daily hobby, so as not to  forget required daily dose.
  • Questions regarding medication therapies, particularly when prescribing new medications
  • Use of automation devices and/or pill boxes if adherence may be an issue
  • Use the support of a close family member to assist with medication therapy, if needed
  • Creation of a  current medication list including herbal preparations and over the counter drugs to bring to all medical appointments.  Compare medication lists against those charted  to ensure correct medication therapy.  
  • Monitoring for polypharmacy
  • Encourage patients to consolidate their medication refills to a single pharmacy to reduce the risk of polypharmacy.
  • Use Blue Button at to obtain their prescription information.