Taking your medicine: relational steps to improving patient compliance

Health Mark Q. 2001;19(2):49-71. doi: 10.1300/J026v19n02_05.


Patient non-compliance with physicians' instructions is a major problem that costs billions of dollars each year. This study supports a significant role for communication, both as a form of information exchange and social support, and participative decision-making in improving patient compliance. These results, based on structural equation modeling, also support the interaction of communication and participative decision-making positively affecting compliance. Results suggest that one-way communication from physician to patient and patient education will not solve compliance problems by themselves. Instead the solution revolves around open, bi-directional information exchange, active listening by both parties, and truly informed consent on the part of patients.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Drug Therapy / psychology*
  • Drug Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Participation*
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires