Study: Cardiologists Unaware of Patient Nonadherence to Medications

A new study in JAMA Cardiology suggests that some patients do not discuss their adherence to medications with their cardiologists. After administering questionnaires to both patients and physicians at two academic and two community-based cardiology practices in the Chicago area, researchers found that 61% of patients rarely or never discussed adherence, 45% of whom admitted to sometimes or usually forgetting to take their medications. An additional 10% said they had missed one dose or more of medication in the past 2 weeks. About two-thirds of the physicians surveyed said they were not aware of how often their patients missed taking their medications, though all physicians agreed that talking with patients about adherence was important. Lack of time was cited as the greatest barrier to discussing medication adherence. Overall, 12% of patients were considered to have poor adherence and 55% had moderate adherence. Of those with poor adherence, only one physician identified them as being poorly adherent. Due to the answers being self-reported, the results could be subjected to recall bias. But researchers said that asking a direct question—such as “how many of your heart drugs have you missed in the last 30 days?"—could help resolve the disconnect between some physicians and patients.