Beyond Compliance, Adherence, & Concordance – Supporting The Patient’s Implementation Of Optimal Treatment

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Compliance Enhancement: Party, Pedicure, and Potables

October 24th, 2007 at 8:49 am · · Enhancements · No Comments

Party Hearty For Healthcare Adherence

I cannot – apparently – resist the notion of patient compliance as a festive event. Ongoing readers may recall my enthusiasm about a campaign to increase the participation of African gold miners in a tuberculosis treatment program by “organiz[ing] a rally to promote adherence to the program, featuring songs, dancing and testimonials.”1.

This is offered as an explanation of why, when I had indicated that the posts for the next few days would be dedicated to practical tips for decreasing unintentional medication noncompliance, I have inserted this report on a campaign by an Orlando radiology center to enhance compliance with mammogram screening for breast cancer.

The concept and its origin are explained in this excerpt from the Orlando Sentinel:

The idea came about as employees at Florida Radiology Imaging brainstormed for ways to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. “You have heard of women going to Botox parties. Well, we decided this is way more important than that,” said Melody Huffman, marketing director for the radiology group. “I have friends myself, moms who work and are so involved with school — the last thing they do is take care of themselves. But you can always get a girlfriend to go to dinner. So we’re trying to make it easy and fun to come out and take care of your health.”

The most impressive portion of the newspaper story, however, concerns the woman who arranged the first of the parties, a 38 year old mother of two who “had been putting off getting her first mammogram. The chance to throw a party with her friends — and get a mammogram at the same time — convinced her to take the plunge.”

And, how long had she been putting off that first mammogram? Well, she tells us, I’ve had a prescription for three years, and it’s been sitting in my car visor since December of last year.

She – and ten of her friends – met at the clinic, chatted, laughed, drank glasses of wine, ate tiny desserts, had their nails painted and their feet massaged.

And had their mammograms.2

Originally, the parties, which can accommodate up to 14 women and last from 7 PM to midnight, were a promotion for Breast Cancer Awareness Month that were originally limited to 10 evenings in October. Because of demand, however, parties are now scheduled through the end of November.

But Is It Compliance If It’s Fun?

For the record, I am fully cynical enough to recognize several points about this idea that are vulnerable to criticism.

For example,
Associating parties with mammograms trivializes an important responsibility women have to themselves, this is a for-profit medical center so this looks like just another marketing program to make money, the dollars spent on pedicures and wine should have been be used to provide free mammograms to those who can’t afford them, non-profit clinics can’t use this kind of promotion, this creates false expectations, this is just another compliance bribery scheme, …

Nonetheless, the benefits of a promotion that successfully enhances compliance with breast cancer screening at a time when mammography rates nationwide are falling seems to me a laudable effort even if it is an imperfect one. That this goal is accomplished by making the screening more pleasant rather than using the horrors of cancer as motivation is a wonderful bonus.

For More Information
The imaging clinic has a web site devoted to the promotion at Midnight Mammogram. A video of a CBS News story about the Midnight Mammogram parties is available at CBS Midnight Mammogram Video.

Credit Due Department: The graphics are adapted from the Midnight Mammogram web site

  1. See Celebrating Compliance
  2. The cost of the mammograms was paid by insurance or out of pocket by the women. All other party costs, including the food, drink, and pedicure team, were paid by the clinic.

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