Virtual workshop held to tackle worldwide lack of adherence to medical treatment

October, 06/2021 - 16:55

In Việt Nam and across the world, the lack of adherence to medical treatments is a critical public health challenge, participants heard at an exclusive workshop on October 5.

A speaker at the virtual knowledge session, on October 5, shared on the first Global Congress titled ‘Adherence: From Treating Diseases to Treating People” scheduled October 20-21. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải

HÀ NỘI — In Việt Nam and across the world, the lack of adherence to medical treatments is a critical public health challenge, participants heard at an exclusive media workshop on October 5.

The media knowledge session is an introduction to the first global Congress on adherence management and behavioral science, entitled ‘Adherence: From Treating Diseases to Treating People”, will be organised by US healthcare company Abbott on October 20-21.  

The session was addressed by Prof. John Weinman of King’s College, London, who is commonly recognized as a founder of modern health psychology. Other eminent speakers included Dr Sheri Pruitt, a Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Science Consultant from the US, Prof. John Piette, Professor of Health Behavior & Health Education and Director of the Centre for Managing Chronic Disease, Ann Arbour, in the US.

The speakers discussed the various components of adherence, including social and economic factors, the role of behavioural science, and how to make action efficient and sustainable adherence solutions.

“Adherence is an observable and measurable behaviour that is typically repeated, such as taking daily medication or exercising. When patients don’t adhere to advice, behavioural science can provide interventions that help them change their behaviour,” said Dr Sheri Pruitt, Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Science Consultant.

During the online event, world-renowned experts across therapeutic areas shared their knowledge, experiences and insights about adherence. This has significant implications for Việt Nam where the non-adherence rates among patients living with chronic conditions are very high; more than 50 per cent in case of hypertension, for example.

A study in the rural northern region of Việt Nam in 2017 revealed that two-thirds of people living with Type 2 diabetes have uncontrolled blood sugar levels (HbA1C > 7 per cent) and 31.9 per cent of people diagnosed with this condition do not adhere to their medication. Addressing poor adherence can therefore be beneficial for Việt Nam’s rising diabetic population of 3.8 million people, which is projected to double by 2045.

Speakers answer questions from international reporters at the event. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải

To combat non-adherence and reimagine care, Abbott introduced ‘a:care,’ a pioneering programme that leverages digital tools and behavioural science to support healthcare professionals. It empowers patients to take small, manageable steps to drive better treatment adherence and build lasting change.

Since being launched in 2019, a:care has become a well-designed healthcare ecosystem that provides doctors, pharmacists, caregivers and patients online and offline assets to help take charge of their health.

Abbott’s a:care pro website, launched in 2020, provides doctors and pharmacists access to tools and information to help patients better understand, manage and monitor their conditions. There are more than 45,000 healthcare professionals globally and up to 4,000 healthcare professionals from Việt Nam that have attended the a:care masterclasses which educate them in the latest behavioural science techniques on how to best help people on their health journey.

“The World Health Organisation has recognised that the number one thing we can do today to improve the health of the overall population is to increase adherence to treatments. The a:care program, developed by Abbott, aims to educate health care professionals and empower patients to take their medicines as prescribed, to ensure medicines work as intended and lead to better health. That’s why, as part of our relentless work to improve people’s health, we’re working on ways to help more people follow their doctor’s advice more often, so that they can live healthier and fuller lives,” said Noel Hanley, Divisional Vice President, Abbott’s medicines business.

Worldwide, an estimated 31 per cent of patients don't complete their prescriptions and 50 per cent do not take their treatment as indicated by their doctor. Treatment non-adherence has drastic impacts on individual health and healthcare systems – from the cost of treatment to rising health complications and risk of mortality. As a result, the management of various diseases has not improved, despite numerous medical advancements. Factors driving this trend are varied and complex, including concerns about medication and cost, accessibility, cultural beliefs and psychological aspects. Creating health resilience to mitigate such challenges is key and can help people take better control of their health.

“The a:care programme is an ambitious and novel program, which is reaching out to doctors to enhance their understanding and support of treatment adherence in their patients. Never before has a program focused on the crucial role of doctors and provided such a well-planned and evidence-based approach to improving treatment adherence," said Prof. John Weinman, Professor of Psychology as applied to Medicines in King’s College. — VNS