Barriers to medication adherence can take the form of social determinants such as housing, employment and access to pharmacies – and systemic barriers such as pre-approvals, multiple prescriptions and affordability.

But psychological barriers also play a major role. Understanding these psychological barriers is critical to improving adherence outcomes.

Two types of psychological non-adherence

Unintentional non-adherence includes factors such as patients not understanding how to take their medication, or forgetting to take medications, or failing to pick up refills. Nineteen percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries forget to take their prescribed medications.

Intentional non-adherence includes consciously discontinuing treatment or self-modifying treatments (such as pill cutting or reducing the frequency of doses without the patient consulting a physician). Intentional non-adherence has been linked to patients’ negative perceptions of a medication. One study found that patients with negative perceptions are 49% less likely to be adherent than those with positive perceptions of their medication.

Addressing psychological barriers to adherence

For unintentional non-adherence, healthcare organizations can improve patient education to reduce patient misunderstandings about how to take their medications. And patient outreach programs can have a positive impact on refills and sticking to a schedule.

To reduce intentional non-adherence, it’s important to take a holistic approach to care by understanding a patient’s values and beliefs. This understanding is driven by empathetic interactions, a strong patient outreach program, and accessible communication channels through which patients may voice their concerns.

How AI helps overcome psychological barriers to adherence

Both unintentional and intentional non-adherence can be alleviated by an effective patient outreach program. Artificial intelligence optimizes these outreach programs by predicting which patients are most likely to respond to adherence interventions. AI then personalizes outreach by channel, message and timing.

About AllazoHealth

AllazoHealth uses artificial intelligence to make a positive impact on individual patient behavior. We optimize medication adherence and quality outcomes for pharmaceutical companies, payers, and pharmacies. Our AI engine targets individual patients with the right intervention and the right content at the right time.


Improving the Effectiveness of Adherence Interventions by


We worked alongside Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and their call center vendor to launch one of our biggest programs, working to improve adherence rates across their population of 104,392 Medicare Advantage Part D (MAPD) patients. We found that AllazoHealth targeted interventions accounted for 5.45 times the uplift in adherence compared to traditionally targeted interventions.