Assessment of patient knowledge of diabetic goals, self-reported medication adherence, and goal attainment

  • Heather P. Whitley
  • Joli D. Fermo
  • Kelly R. Ragucci
  • Elinor C. Chumney
Keywords: Patient Compliance. Diabetes Mellitus. Comprehension. Treatment Outcome. United States


Background: Medication adherence is an integral aspect of disease state management for patients with chronic illnesses, including diabetes mellitus. It has been hypothesized that patients with diabetes who have poor medication adherence may have less knowledge of overall therapeutic goals and may be less likely to attain these goals.

Objective:  The purpose of this study was to assess self-reported medication adherence, knowledge of therapeutic goals (hemoglobin A1C [A1C], low density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C] and blood pressure [BP]), and goal attainment in adult patients with diabetes.

Methods:  A survey was created to assess medication adherence, knowledge of therapeutic goals, and goal attainment for adult patients with diabetes followed at an internal medicine or a family medicine clinic. Surveys were self-administered prior to office visits. Additional data were collected from the electronic medical record.  Statistical analysis was performed.

Results:  A total of 149 patients were enrolled. Knowledge of therapeutic goals was reported by 14%, 34%, and 18% of survived patients for LDL-C, BP, and A1C, respectively.  Forty-six percent, 37%, and 40% of patients achieved LDL-C, BP, and A1C goals, respectively.  Low prescribing of cholesterol- lowering medications was an interesting secondary finding; 36% of patients not at LDL-C goal had not been prescribed a medication targeted to lower cholesterol.  Forty-eight percent of patients were medication non-adherent; most frequently reported reasons for non-adherence were forgot (34%) and too expensive (14%).  Patients at A1C goal were more adherent than patients not at goal (p=0.025).

Conclusion:  The majority did not reach goals and were unknowledgeable of goals; however, most were provided prescriptions to treat these parameters. Goal parameters should be revisited often amongst multidisciplinary team members with frequent and open communications.  Additionally, it is imperative that practitioners discuss the importance of medication adherence with every patient at every visit.


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Original Research