Association Between Prescribing Method and Primary Nonadherence in an Urban Hospital Population

Researchers discovered that electronic prescribing, versus written doctors' orders, deters primary nonadherence—the failure of patients to fill and pick up new medications. Of more than 4,300 prescriptions written for the study sample, the rate of primary nonadherence was 31.6%. The rate of primary nonadherence was 16% lower for patients whose prescription was sent electronically compared with patients who were handed a paper order. In addition, having four or five different prescriptions or being a native English speaker was associated with greater nonadherence. The trend declined with age but picked back up among patients aged 70 years and older. More studies are needed to explain why the phenomenon occurs, to identify patients most likely not to fill new medications, and to simplify drug regimens in a way that fosters adherence, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of North Carolina concluded.