According to the World Health Organization, making sure patients take their prescribed medicines regularly and on time may have a greater impact on a population’s health than other specific medical treatments. This is known as adherence or “pharmacoadherence,” and means how well patients follow their medication plan after agreeing with their doctor to take a prescribed medicine. Up to 65% of people are non-adherent, meaning that they do not take their medication. This can lead to high blood sugar and serious health problems, both short-term and long-term. Taking a medicine at the right time and at the right dose can be challenging, especially for people living with diabetes. There are many reasons why patients may not take their prescribed medications, including medication side effects, peer influences, culture, myths and negative stigma. Fortunately, many new digital health technologies encourage people with diabetes and their health care team to work together to improve medication adherence. Examples of these technologies include smart insulin pens; smartphone apps; wearable sensors for telehealth; and easier access to diabetes education using video, text and chat messages. However, these technologies must be affordable, usable, and helpful. More work needs to be done, but the future is looking hopeful.
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