Will Screening for Nonadherence Damage Your Patients' Trust?

April 9, 2014

Should physicians routinely screen patients for medication adherence, like antihypertensive therapy? Could that damage the physician-patient relationship?

There is at present no good way to assess patient adherence to hypertensive drug therapy; a concern since the rates of reported poor adherence are anywhere from 3 percent to 65 percent. Now, researchers at the University of Leicester in England believe they have found a way.

They used a high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-based urine analysis to assess how well patients were taking their blood pressure meds, reported MedPage Today.

The assay is able to detect levels for the 40 most-commonly prescribed antihypertensive medications - however cost is a concern. While a single test is $50 U.S. dollars, the analyzer itself is $250,000.

Would you use such a diagnostic test, if it were available, to screen your hypertensive patients who have a poor response to drug therapy? Do you think the cost of the test would outweigh the benefits?

Could such a test harm the physician-patient relationship by indicating that you don't trust your patients to tell you the truth?

Share your thoughts in the comments box below.