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Improving on a Coin Toss To Predict Patient Adherence to Medications

Barbara J. Turner, MD, MSEd; and Frederick M. Hecht, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, PA 19104 (Turner) San Francisco General Hospital; San Francisco, CA 94110 (Hecht)


Requests for Single Reprints: Barbara J. Turner, MD, MSEd, University of Pennsylvania, 1122 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail, bturner@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Turner: University of Pennsylvania, 1122 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Dr. Hecht: University of California at San Francisco Positive Health Program, San Francisco General Hospital, Ward 84, 995 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110.


Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(10):1004-1006. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-134-10-200105150-00015
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According to the father of medicine, Hippocrates, “The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient … cooperate” (1). Although Hippocrates' paternalistic tone might affront modern physicians and patients, the challenge of promoting patient adherence to effective treatments still confounds providers 23 centuries later. Adherence has become an increasingly central aspect of patient care because of the burgeoning array of effective treatments for many chronic diseases. In the face of remarkable medical advances, it is especially distressing that evaluation of patient adherence (also called compliance or pill taking) remains an imperfect science at best.

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