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Medicines Adherence: Supporting Patients with Their Treatment

How can healthcare professionals help patients to improve their health through medicines adherence?

24,189 enrolled on this course

Image showing various pills
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

It is estimated that 30-50% of patients do not take their medicines as prescribed. So how should we, as healthcare professionals, respond? As medicines are key to the successful management of chronic conditions, underuse or non-adherence represents a lost opportunity for the health improvement for the patient as well as being a waste of valuable resources for healthcare systems. In Europe alone, the cost of poor adherence to treatment is estimated at 195,000 lives and €20 billion annually.

This two week course is designed for pharmacists, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with a role or interest in supporting patients with long-term conditions. We’ve invited a range of inspirational healthcare professionals, researchers and clinical academics from across King’s College London’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and the Pharmaceutical Clinical Academic Group at King’s Health Partners to contribute to this course. You will be able to immerse yourself in our engaging video material, scenarios and discussions to explore the challenges of medicines non-adherence, factors that may influence patient medicines use and approaches that can be used to effectively engage patients in patient-centred consultations about self-managing medicines.

Delivered in bite-sized sections, you will be able to enhance your own understanding of medicines adherence and, importantly, gain increasing awareness of where in your own day-to-day consultations you can apply these techniques and approaches to better support patient self-management of medicines. We look forward to walking you through this important and challenging area of healthcare provision.

By the end of this two week course, learners will have developed their understanding, and reflected upon their own clinical practice and consultation skills, in order to:

1) Identify patients who may be having problems with their medicines

2) Employ strategies to support these patients with the use of their medicines.

The learning materials have been designed to take approximately 1-2 hours per week to complete.

Success and feedback from the course

Since April 2014 over 15,000 learners have registered on this course from across the world. There has been a rich multidisciplinary range of healthcare professionals, including primary and secondary care pharmacists, doctors, nurses and dentists, alongside patients and carers. Previous learners have indicated that they agree or strongly agree that:

  • they gained skills and knowledge from the course that will allow them to work more effectively with patients with medicines adherence issues (94%).
  • the course enabled them to respond to medicines adherence issues with greater confidence (93%).
  • the course had added a fresh perspective to their current role (95%).
  • they would recommend the course to a colleague or friend (97%).

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds We know that 30% to 50% of patients with long-term conditions do not take their medicines as prescribed.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds In Europe alone, this is costing an estimated 195,000 lives and 20 billion euros annually.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 seconds So how can health care professionals best assist their patients to improve their health through better medication adherence as well as reduce the waste of valuable health care resources? We’ve gathered together some of the best minds in research and experts in clinical practice from King’s College London’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, along with our colleagues in King’s Health Partners, to bring you an engaging and practical approach to non-adherence. So with us, you can immerse yourself in case studies and discussions with colleagues around the world to explore the challenges of medicines non-adherence. We’ll be looking into the approaches that can be used to really engage patients with patient-centered consultation skills in order to improve their self-management of their medicines.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds Designed specifically in bite-sized sections for busy pharmacists, doctors and nurses, and other health care professionals who are directly involved in or interested in developing skills for supporting their patients, you’ll be able to enhance your understanding of medicines adherence and non-adherence and increase your knowledge and skills and approaches and techniques to better support patient self-management of medicines and effect behaviour change.

Skip to 2 minutes and 14 seconds My name’s John Weinman. I’m professor of psychology applied to medicines in King’s College London. And on behalf of the team, I look forward to walking you through this vital and challenging area of health care provision. Thank you.

What topics will you cover?

  • The nature of medicines non-adherence, its prevalence and its potential impact on personal health, healthcare systems and society.
  • Evidence-based predictors of non-adherence, including physical barriers, illness and treatment beliefs, to better understand patients’ medicines-taking behaviour.
  • The Medication-related Consultation Framework (MRCF) as a structured, patient-centred approach to help healthcare professionals evaluate and develop their skills when consulting with patients about medication issues.
  • Patient-centred consultation behaviours to be effectively use in conjunction with the MRCF, including active listening and the use of open and close questions and affirmations.
  • Simulated patient-practitioner consultations to illustrate the concepts, tools and techniques covered in this course.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the definition, nature and instance of medicines non-adherence, and its potential impact on health, wellbeing and health services globally.
  • Identify a range of factors that have been found to be strong predictors of non-adherence, including patient illness and treatment beliefs.
  • Identify how consultation behaviours that effectively identify and address non-adherence can be used to empower and better support patients who are having difficulty taking their medicines as prescribed.
  • Explore how an evidence-based consultation framework, the Medication-Related Consultation Framework, can be incorporated into day-to-day practice to better support patients to self-manage their medicines.
  • Explain how consultation behaviours that effectively identify and address non-adherence can be used to empower and better support patients who are having difficulty taking their medicines as prescribed.
  • Reflect upon personal experiences of medicines-related consultations and the ways that people use their medicines.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for healthcare professionals, but will also be helpful for those with an academic or personal interest in medicines adherence.

Who will you learn with?

John Weinman: Professor of Psychology as applied to Medicines
Graham Davies: Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Vivian Auyeung: Lecturer in Medicines Use
Natasha Khan: Senior Research Fellow

Who developed the course?

King's College London

King’s College London, established in 1829 and a founding college of the University of London, is one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, based in the very heart of London.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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