Healthday News — Health care providers can help boost patient adherence to antihypertensive medications by communicating more collaboratively with patients, and including discussion of socioeconomic challenges, according to a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Antoinette Schoenthaler, EdD, an associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues examined recorded interactions between 92 patients and 27 health care providers at 3 practices serving a low-income New York City population. Blacks, women, and the unemployed made up the majority of the patients. The researchers focused on communication between patients and clinicians, and collected medication adherence data continuously during the three-month study with an electronic monitoring device.

Patients were 3 times less likely to take their medications if their providers didn’t use a more collaborative style, such as asking open-ended questions, and ensuring they understood instructions, the investigators found. Patients were 6 times less likely to take their medications when providers didn’t ask about potential challenges such as employment and housing (odds ratio, 6.03), an effect that was heightened in black patients (odds ratio, 8.01).

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“When health care providers ask patients about life challenges or take the time to check their patient’s understanding of instructions, it signals that their health care provider genuinely cares about them and provides the motivation and confidence to manage their health issues on their own,” Schoenthaler said in a journal news release.

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Schoenthaler A, Knafl GJ, Fiscella K, Ogedegbe G. Addressing the social needs of hypertensive patients: the role of patient-provider communication as a predictor of medication adherence. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2017 Sep;10(9). pii: e003659.