Solutions to Address Compliance Issues

As administrative demands on doctors increase, direct patient care decreases,1 which often results in “most care in daily life [being] self care.”2 For example, when patients with diabetes spend only three hours on average with a healthcare professional each year,2 a heavy burden is placed on patients to self-manage their chronic disease, especially the details of the necessary lifestyle changes.

Patient non-compliance is a worldwide problem. In early 2017, Pakistani researchers reported a non-compliance rate of 68.8%.3 This figure is congruent with World Health Organization figures stating that developed countries typically have 50% non-compliance while developing countries have rates that are a bit higher.4 In the Pakistani study, less than a third of the patients complied with recommended preventative measures and lifestyle changes.3 As a result, the researchers proposed patient non-compliance as a hidden risk factor for disease.3

Part of increasing patient compliance is accounting for different goals and philosophies among patients. Some patients see themselves as the primary leader in their health care, while others take a more passive approach.5 Research shows that providers who approach patients as a partner with unique goals and priorities will empower them to self-manage their disease in a better way.6

Some patients see themselves as the primary leader in their health care, while others take a more passive approach.

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In the following video, Monique Class, MS, APRN, BC, describes the tools that IFM provides to help patients make changes at their own pace:

Monique Class, MS, APRN, BC, discusses effective tools and patient education for lifestyle change.

IFM’s Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) teaches you methods and provides resources to address patient non-compliance, including a toolkit with hundreds of simple tools that guide patients through the difficult but necessary lifestyle treatments that allow them to successfully self-manage their disease.

Register for AFMCP


  1. Block L, Habicht R, Wu AW, et al. In the wake of the 2003 and 2011 duty hours regulations, how do internal medicine interns spend their time? J Gen Intern Med. 2013;28(8):1042-47. doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2376-6.
  2. United Kingdom Department of Health. Self Care — A Real Choice. London: DH Publications; 2005.
  3. Memon KN, Shaikh NZ, Soomro RA, Shaikh SR, Khwaja AM. Non-compliance to doctors? advices among patients suffering from various diseases: patients’ perspectives: a neglected issue. J Med. 2017;18(1):10-14. doi:10.3329/jom.v18i1.31170.
  4. World Health Organization. Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action. Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2003.
  5. Randall S, Neubeck L. What’s in a name? Concordance is better than adherence for promoting partnership and self-management of chronic disease. Aust J Prim Health. 2016;22(3):181-84. doi:10.1071/PY15140.
  6. Lawn S, Delaney T, Sweet L, Battersby M, Skinner TC. Control in chronic condition self-care management: how it occurs in the health worker-client relationship and implications for client empowerment. J Adv Nurs. 2014;70(2):383-94. doi:10.1111/jan.12203.

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