Adherence vs compliance

Today I learnt that doctors are no longer encouraged to use the term compliance with treatment, but should rather use the term adherence to treatment.

It’s hard to believe we used to say compliance, now that I think of it.

Published by

Dr Martina Feyzrakhmanova

I am a hospital doctor and founder of an education platform. Avid reader and writer of introspective blogs.

10 thoughts on “Adherence vs compliance”

  1. I have no medical background, so please forgive my ignorance, but I’m not understanding the difference between the two. Would you mind explaining the difference between how the two words are perceived?

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    1. I also have no medical background.

      In my view, compliance connotes consequences if the treatment plan is not followed. It seems to imply that the doctor will punish the patient should they not follow the treatment plan.

      Adherence is more personal. Rather than the treatment plan being imposed on the patient by the doctor, the patient adhering to the plan implies that the patient agrees with the plan and is voluntarily following the doctor’s recommendation.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks Kelsey, the difference is more or less who is more in control, the doctor or the patient. Ultimately, it is an autonomous patient who chooses to adhere or not to adhere to recommendations.

      Many thanks for your reference, I will keep an eye out for and share your piece that will really resonate on here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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