Tag Archives: patient compliance patient adherence

Semantics Anyone?

from the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone Mineral Research in Denver

Walking through the poster sessions, I couldn’t help noticing that no one seems to agree on the right word to use for when a patient takes his/her medicine faithfully as prescribed.  I’ve known for a while that “compliance” had lost some favor because it has a somewhat negative connotation for the patient.  Noncompliant makes an adult patient sound like an unruly toddler.  “Adherence” popped up as an alternative.  At ASBMR, I saw “persistence” used in several posters, which was a new one for me.  Physicians aren’t alone either. Even the venerable Wall Street Journal doesn’t know which word to use.  Both compliance and adherence showed up in a post on yesterday’s WSJ Health Blog

So tell us, which word do you use?

—Kerri Wachter, @knwachter on Twitter


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