In the healthcare community, a lot of attention is focused on what physicians can do to improve patient outcomes. The growing pay-for-performance trend reflects the theory that if physicians follow a set of guidelines for treating certain diseases, it will better manage those diseases and cut down on costs. But what if a doctor does everything he or she is supposed to and the patient isn't cooperative? A study published in American Health Journal found that more than half of people who had suffered a heart attack weren't taking beta blockers--prescription drugs that could prevent another incident. "The study fits into a pattern of findings showing that even people with very serious illness fail to follow medical practices known to save lives and improve outcomes," notes the Washington Post. Patients tend to take their health less seriously once they feel they've recovered from a heart attack. Health officials note that it's important for providers to understand how they can help prevent patients from underestimating their need for continuing treatment.
For more on the study:
- read this Washington Post article