Abstract and Keywords
Despite decades of research, patient nonadherence remains an unsolved problem in health care, contributing to decreased efficiency, poorer health outcomes, worse physician-patient relationships, and high monetary cost. As part of the ongoing endeavor to understand what factors motivate patients to be adherent to treatment, researchers have increasingly turned to technology as a means by which to improve and monitor rates of patient nonadherence. As part of a burgeoning global effort to improve the quality and efficiency of health care, the Obama administration in the United States dedicated $38 billion toward investments in eHealth. Such a large-scale expenditure has been justified using the argument that systems such as electronic prescribing and associated computerized provider order entry systems (CPOE), electronic health records (EHRs), picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), telemedicine, mobile health, and computerized decision support systems (CDSSs) will help address the problems of variable quality and safety in the health care system, including patient nonadherence Catwell & Sheikh, (2009). However, in order for technological means to be effective in creating and sustaining long-term improvements to health at the population level, technologies must be evaluated for their effectiveness in changing patient behavior. Disparities remain between the evidenced-based principles that support health care, and the eagerness of the legislative, practical, and industrial drivers of decision-making in the promotion of eHealth (Black et al, 2011). Given the social importance of technology, and the immense rate at which systems of technology are growing, this chapter seeks to examine the current literature surrounding technologies related to patient management, medical care, and provider-patient communication, with relationships to patient adherence to treatment. The focus of this chapter is on examining the potential uses of technology to directly decrease rates of patient nonadherence, as well as to improve provider-patient communication toward the goal of increasing patient participation in care.
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