Medication Simulation Affects Health Provider Students' Attitudes About Adherence and Concordance

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IntroductionAssisting polypharmacy patients with complex health regimens is a part of health provider responsibilities. The concepts of adherence and concordance contrast the traditional emphasis on patient compliance. However, health provider students may not be able to empathize with polypharmacy patients. The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of a medication simulation on medical, nursing, and pharmacy students' beliefs about adherence and concordance.MethodsA prospective, quasi-experimental, pretest, and posttest design was used with institutional review board approval. The participants (N = 62) took four simulated medications (varied dosing schedules) for 1 week. Attitudes toward adherence and concordance were assessed before and after the intervention.ResultsSubjects averaged 24.6 years (SD = 4.32), 72.6% female, and 79% white. Most were medical students (n = 33, 53%), followed by nursing (n = 21, 34%) and pharmacy students (n = 8, 13%). There were significant changes [t(61) = 3.92, P < 0.001] in beliefs about adherence from time 1 (mean = 25.13, SD = 5.77) to time 2 (mean = 22.05, SD = 6.06), and about concordance (mean = 41.85, SD = 5.58 time 1) to (mean = 44.29, SD = 6.32 time 2) [t(61) = 3.31, P < 0.05], for the entire group. Most students (84%) predicted that they would be able to take four medications correctly for 1 week. Fifty-eight students (94%) found that adherence was ‘much harder’ or ‘a little harder’ than anticipated. Most (89%) felt that the simulation will impact their patient care.ConclusionsParticipation in a medication simulation exercise affected health provider students' attitudes toward adherence and concordant behaviors. These experiences may influence future patient interactions.

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