Non-adherence to medication is a problem that accompanies pharmacological therapies for centuries. Nowadays, with powerful therapies available for a number of major conditions, this phenomenon becomes even more important. The reason for this is straightforward: deviations from evidence-based therapies cause serious losses, and lead to poor health, increased use of healthcare services, additional costs and thus, jeopardize the effectiveness of healthcare systems. These profound consequences put non-adherence in the focus of scientific research and triggered implementation of various corrective interventions. Unfortunately, neither the assessment methods used so far were fully effective in identifying the cases of non-adherence, nor the interventions were able to get rid of this problem. Novel assessment techniques seem to overcome multiple limitations of previously used techniques, such as questionnaires, or biochemical tests. Various digital eHealth solutions collect unbiased data on real drug use and thus, provide perfect insight into the execution of prescribed treatments. Depending on the purpose, these might be used at either individual patient, or population level. Equipped with artificial intelligence, they may support clinicians in decision making, and could provide trustworthy predictions of the future. Last but not least, such approaches do not incur much additional work, nor costs. However, taking the advantage of these solutions, one need to be aware of their limitations. No matter how precisely the drug taking history is assessed, there is another question that needs to be answered to help non-adherence: ‘Why’? Drug taking behaviour is influenced by various ‘human factors’. These need also to be taken into consideration in order to succeed in improving medication adherence.
Prof. Przemyslaw Kardas, MD, PhD is a founder and Director of Medication Adherence Research Center at the Medical University of Lodz, Poland. He is also Professor of Family Medicine and the Head of the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of Lodz, Poland. His professional activities focus on patient adherence to medication, management of chronic conditions, active and healthy ageing, Big Data and eHealth. He is the author of a number of peer-reviewed scientific publications and conference presentations, as well as four monographs. He is a member of several editorial boards and a reviewer for a number of medical journals. He serves as an expert to European Commission in Public Health under Horizon 2020 program. He was a Promoter to EIP on AHA Action Group A1: Prescription and adherence to treatment. He is involved in numerous international research collaborations, and EU projects. He was a Scientific Director of the European research initiative Ascertaining Barriers for Compliance under 7th Framework Programme (2009-2012), and the President of European Society for Patient Compliance, Adherence, and Persistence (ESPACOMP) scientific association (2010-2011). Between 2017-2020, he headed SKILLS4ADHERENCE Project – a European training program for medical professionals in the area of adherence and polypharmacy management in elderly.