The relevance of compliance to treatments during the coronavirus crisis

The “Strategies in addressing chronicity in the Spanish National Health System” (Estrategia para el Abordaje de la Cronicidad en el Sistema Nacional de Salud) document published by the General Directorate of Public Health of the Ministry of Health in 2019, pinpoints that 34% of the population carry at least one chronic disease, percentage that goes up to 77% for the population of over 65 years of age.

Since the beginning of the health alert due to the coronavirus crisis and that some risk profiles for the pandemic were set, the medical and pharmaceutical communities have kept a consensus about the relevance and need that patients that are subject to such conditions keep their pre-established treatments in order to minimize the impact of Covid-19.

If under normal conditions it is important that chronic patients keep their treatments, what is known as therapeutic adherence, which basically can be summarized as taking medication according to prescription in terms of timing and process, to keep that protocol during a health crisis is essential to many chronic patients that, due to the nature of their illnesses, are considered part of a risk group.

But why therapeutic adherence is so relevant?

According to the Treatment Adherence Observatory (OAT) the lack of adherence in chronic patients may lead to some worsening of the health problem and heighten the risk of some relapse of the underlying condition. Nevertheless the adherence does not only refers to keep taking the prescribed medicines correctly, but also to actively participate “through being informed throughout the process of diagnosis, treatment and control”, according to Pilar de Lucas, spokesperson of the Scientific Committee of the OAT, also stating the need to have a healthy life, and, at the present times, to respect all of the directives provided by health authorities to avoid contagion – heightened personal hygiene, wearing protective equipment, not to attend gatherings except when strictly necessary.

To stick to therapeutic adherence in theis context of health alert not only will help the proper evolution of patients’ health, but it will also prevent that a relapse occurs and that they have to resort to a hospital stay, where risks of contagion are enhanced. 

In order to have a proper monitoring of chronic patients, a whole set of telemonitoring services designed to follow patients during this period when physical support is restricted. The objective is to gauge the compliance to prescribed treatments and to identify any signal that might indicate any change on the patter of the health situation.

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