adherence, advanced practice, intervention





Purpose: A clinical nurse specialist-led intervention to improve medication adherence in chronically ill adults using renal transplant recipients as an exemplar population is proposed.


Background/Rationale: Meta-analyses and systematic reviews of chronically ill and transplant patients indicate that patient-specific characteristics not only are poor and inconsistent predictors for medication nonadherence but also are not amenable to intervention. Adherence has not meaningfully improved, despite meta-analyses and systematic narrative reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) dealing with medication nonadherence in acutely and chronically ill persons and RCTs dealing with transplant patients. Interventions with a superior potential to enhance medication adherence must be developed.


Description of the Intervention: Use of a clinical nurse specialist-led continuous self-improvement intervention with adult renal transplant recipients is proposed. Continuous self-improvement focuses on improving personal systems thinking and behavior using the plan-do-check-act process. Electronic medication monitoring reports, one of several objective measures of medication adherence, are used by the clinician to provide patient feedback during the check process on medication-taking patterns.


Conclusion: Continuous self-improvement as an intervention holds promise in supporting patient self-management and diminishing the blame that clinicians place on patients for medication nonadherence. Using an objective measure of medication adherence such as an electronic monitoring report fosters collaborative patient-clinician discussions of daily medication-taking patterns. Through collaboration, ideas for improving medication taking can be explored. Changes can be followed and evaluated for effectiveness through the continuous self-improvement process.


Implications: Future studies should include RCTs comparing educational and/or behavioral interventions to improve medication adherence.