Primary Medication Adherence in a Rural Population: The Role of the Patient-Physician Relationship and Satisfaction with Care

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IntroductionAlthough correlates of overall medication adherence have been studied, little is known about primary medication non-adherence—patients' failing to fill a prescription provided by a practitioner—and whether it relates to how patients view their physician, satisfaction with their care, and how easy or hard it is for them to travel for care.MethodsThis study uses telephone survey data from adults in 150 rural counties in 8 southeastern states. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were used to identify factors associated with adults' self-reports of delaying or not filling prescriptions.ResultsOf the 3926 respondents who had received care in the previous year, 894 (21.6%) reported that they had delayed or did not fill a prescription over that time. In multivariate analysis, delaying or not filling prescriptions was more common among respondents who were under age 65, African American, reported incomes less than $25,000, and reported fair or poor health. Non-adherence was also more common among patients who reported transportation problems, a lack of confidence in their doctor's ability to help them, a lack of satisfaction with the concern shown them by their physicians, and a lack of satisfaction with how welcome and comfortable they are made to feel by office staff.ConclusionsPrescription primary non-adherence is prevalent in the rural South. Adherence may be improved by remedying patient dissatisfaction and lack of confidence in their physicians as well as addressing transportation barriers.

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