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Book and Media Reviews
April 20, 2011

Health Behavior Change and Treatment Adherence: Evidence-Based Guidelines for Improving Healthcare

JAMA. 2011;305(15):1598. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.485

The recognition that there is a lot wrong with the way health care is managed in the United States has been responsible for a good deal of controversy. Who, for example, should be in charge of medical decisions? What are the best practices? How can this be paid for? This little book steps back from the political arena to calmly address a different set of issues. Given that many medical problems are the direct result of unhealthy behaviors—or make a significant contribution to others—how can these malicious habits be changed and healthful alternatives fostered and maintained? This is not a new problem, as many young physicians find to their chagrin. Delivering good health care is like leading a horse to water—it is not enough to arrive at the correct diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment if patients will not take their medicine. The authors quote 3 recent studies that estimate the rate of those not following their physicians' recommendations to be 1 in 4. This book addresses how to understand why this is so and goes on to present many strategies for closing this gap.

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