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Understanding and Improving Patient Compliance

STEPHEN A. ERAKER, M.D., M.P.H.; JOHN P. KIRSCHT, Ph.D.; and MARSHALL H. BECKER, Ph.D., M.P.H.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Stephen A. Eraker, M.D., M.P.H.; Veterans Administration Medical Center, 2215 Fuller Road; Ann Arbor, MI 48105


Ann Arbor, Michigan


© 1984 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(2):258-268. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-100-2-258
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The problem of patient compliance, as well as the ability of the physician to understand, detect, and improve compliance, are described in relation to a new model of health decisions and patient behavior. The health decision model combines decision analysis, behavioral decision theory, and health beliefs. This model provides a framework for modifying general health beliefs; treatment recommendations; experience with therapeutic regimens and health care providers; patient knowledge and social interaction patterns. Physicians, guided by certain ethical restraints, are in a unique position of responsibility and opportunity to actively encourage patient compliance with treatment.

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