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Some Possible Effects of Patient Noncompliance

Mark E. Cowen, MD; Lucia K. Jim, PharmD; Eddie L. Boyd, PharmD; Joseph P. Gee, PharmD
JAMA. 1981;245(11):1121. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310360013011.
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To the Editor.—  We recently completed a retrospective 12-month survey of 1,200 inpatients and outpatients in a medical clinic that included a pilot study to see if patient noncompliance had any adverse effects on health care costs. Of the 1,200 charts surveyed, 48 patients met the criteria for being noncompliant, where there was physician documentation in either the outpatient chart or hospital discharge summary. A patient is defined as noncompliant if he either (1) did not take all the drugs prescribed or (2) changed doses on his own without approval by a physician or (3) took medications that were not currently prescribed or recommended by the physician. We then compared this group with the remaining 1,075 patients (77 patients with drug abuse problems were excluded). The mean age for the noncompliant group was older (50.7 years vs 42.3 years). Over the one-year period studied, the noncompliant group compared with the


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