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What Is Treatment Concordance?

What Is Treatment Concordance?

Treatment concordance is gaining popularity as the accepted model of patient informed treatment. In this type of treatment, patients are included in the decision-making process and are participants in their own treatment. Of course, this also means that patients have a right to refuse treatment if they wish, discontinue treatment once it has begun or request alternative forms of treatment.

Concordance versus Compliance

Traditionally, doctors and patients have simply assumed as a matter of fact that the doctor knows best and the patient should do whatever the doctor says without question. When patients simply follow their doctors’ instructions to the letter without being informed of the reasons, this is known as “compliance.”

In recent times, however, both doctors and patients have begun to recognize the many benefits to be gained by the patients’ informed participation in their own treatment. Patients are informed of the reasons for a particular course of treatment and have the right to refuse it. This is known as “concordance.”

Concordance typically results in higher rates of adhering to and completing treatment. Patients who are informed about their treatment and feel that they are active, decision-making partners in their own healthcare are more likely to follow their doctors’ recommendations once they and their doctors have agreed upon a course of treatment.

Possible Reasons for Non-Concordance

Patients often fail to adhere to treatment regimens, such as taking their prescriptions as directed. This is known as “non-concordance.” Patients are regarded as autonomous, consenting adults and, as such, have a right to refuse or discontinue treatment. However, this can cause problems for the individual, as well as for society as a whole. Healthcare professionals should strive to understand the reasons for non-concordance in order to find treatment strategies that are more acceptable to their patients.

Non-concordance appears to be more widespread than doctors previously knew. There are a virtually infinite number of reasons for non-concordance, including the following:

  • Patients may simply forget to take their medications.
  • Patients may not fully understand the directions.
  • Patients may worry about the side effects of a particular drug and choose not to take it; this is particularly true as more people become aware of the serious risks involved with taking medications, such as benzodiazepine sedatives, that doctors often prescribe casually for a variety of conditions.
  • Patients may experience side effects of the drug and find them intolerable.
  • Patients may not feel adequately informed about the medication; Barber found a significant correlation between concordance and the patient feeling that he or she had been adequately informed about the medication.

There may also be less obvious and harder to identify reasons for non-concordance. For example, patients may fear the stigma of using medication and being viewed as “sick.” There may even be cultural or religious objections to taking certain medications. In some cases, patients may be reluctant, for whatever reason, to discuss these objections with their doctors, who then remain mystified as to why their patients refuse treatment.

Questions about Treatment Concordance?

If you have any questions about treatment concordance or the risks and benefits of any given medication, please call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer all your questions, so call now.