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Patient Non-Compliance a Pricey Problem

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, September 24, 2012

Jerry L. Miller, MD, a retired family practice physician and founder and past president of Holston Medical Group, a Kingsport, TN–based private practice with over 150 physicians and specialists, offered his thoughts on non-compliance during his keynote address at the CFO Exchange. He believes the phrase "patient non-compliance" should be eliminated from the healthcare vernacular.

Miller remarked that if patients aren't compliant, there's a reason, and it's a healthcare provider's obligation to find out what it is; understanding a patient's personal and social circumstances is crucial to caring for the patient and will ultimately drive down costs. The solution to this problem lies in the development of an open, co-operative doctor-patient relationship, he said.

Healthcare financial leaders at the CFO Exchange agreed with Miller that tackling patient non-compliance and saving on those costs rests with those on the frontlines and not in the financial back office.

"It's important to create a central organization, one that's high-touch and works with the patients on the frontline to bring the costs down," said Carter. "For us, that means applying for a [Medicare] ACO, and we're looking at bundled payments and risk-based contracting. We also have a number of patient-centered models we're looking at to address this problem."

While many healthcare providers are working with payers and employers to encourage better incentives for patients to participate, non-compliance is likely to remain a vexing problem. CFOs grudgingly agree that patient non-compliance, and its cost, is unlikely to decline any time soon.


Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "Patient Non-Compliance a Pricey Problem"


M. Bennet Broner, PhD (9/25/2012 at 2:41 PM)
With non-compliance as high as 90% in some instances, not all individuals have troubled financial and or social lives. At play is the false belief that diseases are opportunistic and that patients are victims of this randomness rather than active participants in disease likelihood or course. Too, there is a belief that even if one does not care for himself, there is a treatment or medication that will solve the problem. Taken together, there is no patient "buy-in" to disease prevention or self-care.