Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 236–241

Patients’ Beliefs and Preferences Regarding Doctors’ Medication Recommendations

Authors

    • Meyers Primary Care Institute
    • Baystate Medical Center
  • Kathleen M. Mazor
    • Meyers Primary Care Institute
    • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Vanessa Meterko
    • Meyers Primary Care Institute
  • Katherine Dodd
    • Meyers Primary Care Institute
  • James Sabin
    • Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-007-0470-3

Cite this article as:
Goff, S.L., Mazor, K.M., Meterko, V. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2008) 23: 236. doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0470-3

Abstract

Background

An estimated 20–50% of patients do not take medications as recommended. Accepting a doctor’s recommendation is the first step in medication adherence, yet little is known about patients’ beliefs and preferences about how medications are prescribed.

Objective

To explore patients’ beliefs and preferences about medication prescribing to understand factors that might affect medication adherence.

Methods

Fifty members from 2 health plans in Massachusetts participated in in-depth telephone interviews. Participants listened to an audio-vignette of a doctor prescribing a medication to a patient and were asked a series of questions related to the vignette. Responses were reviewed in an iterative process to identify themes related to participants’ beliefs and preferences about medication prescribing.

Results

Participants’ beliefs and preferences about medication prescribing encompassed 3 major areas: patient–doctor relationships, outside influences, and professional expertise. Important findings included participants’ concerns about the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on doctors’ prescribing practices and beliefs that there is a clear “best” medication for most health problems.

Conclusions

Patients’ beliefs and preferences about medication prescribing may affect medication adherence. Additional empiric studies that explore whether doctors’ relationships with pharmaceutical representatives impact medication adherence by affecting trust are indicated. In addition, it would be worthwhile to explore whether discussions between patients and doctors regarding equipoise (no clear scientific evidence for 1 treatment choice over another) affect medication adherence.

KEY WORDS

medication adherencequalitativepatient preferencescommunicationmedication prescribingpharmaceutical detailingshared decision making

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2007