Patient Compliance Begins

with Empowerment

Success with any treatment protocol can only go so far with your patient population. Issues with treatment effectiveness aside, it is compliance that plays a significant role in how well a protocol works. The extent to which your patients adhere to a treatment protocol can be a major stumbling block in their overall wellness regimen, and may require a different approach to address the issue.



Approaches for Adherence

From allopathic medicine to Functional Medicine, compliance is one of the most concerning issues among practitioners across the board. The best planning is only as successful as how compliant the patient is. Approaching compliance from an “I am the expert and I am telling you to do this” standpoint does not work for all patients. Either does a dire warning of what might occur if a protocol is not adhered to. Instead, motivate patients into compliance through simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. 

Power Tools for Patients

Patients must realize that they are not just a passive component of their healthcare team, but rather they are active members. It has been shown in numerous studies that high levels of self-efficacy are consistently found to promote medication adherence.1 This ability to feel “in control” of one’s own choices and outcomes empowers the patient to take steps, again within their control, to effect change. It has also been shown that “doctor locus of control” can also achieve favorable results with patient adherence,1 however it is the interaction between you as the healthcare practitioner, and the patient, wherein promising compliance alternatives can be found.1

Achieving the Dynamic

With today’s online plethora of knowledge available at patients’ fingertips, it is important to consider that some patients feel that they can make treatment decisions without your recommendation. Known as intelligent non-adherence, this scenario may also be a factor in why some patients do not follow their protocols. It is here that collaboration between healthcare practitioner and patient can improve patient empowerment by balancing the power between the two,1 thereby bringing both standard and self-informed non-adherent patients within the healthcare team and empowering them to make compliant, yet autonomous, choices.

Sharing Control

Treatment compliance ideally requires that a balance of power be established, wherein both you and your patients are in control. By promoting the internal locus of control (e.g. I decide to take this supplement because I want to feel better) and self-efficacy (e.g. I am disciplined and will remember to take my supplements), as well as emphasizing the importance of your guidance and expertise, you both can share control of the treatment protocol to achieve compliance.






Nafradi L, Nakamoto K, Schulz P. Is patient empowerment the key to promote adherence? A systematic review of the relationship between self-efficacy, health locus of control and medication adherence. PLoS One. 2017; 12(10): e0186458.