Key Difference – Concordance vs Compliance
Concordance and compliance are two terms that have special meanings in the field of medicine. Although these medical terms have somewhat similar meanings, they should not be confused with each other. Compliance refers to the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice. Concordance refers to a process by which a patient and a health care professional make decisions together about treatment. This is the main difference between concordance and compliance.
What is Compliance?
Compliance is defined in medical dictionaries as follows:
“The consistency and accuracy with which someone follows the regimen prescribed by a physician or other health professional” (Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary)
“Willingness to follow a prescribed course of treatment” (The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary)
As seen from these definitions, compliance can refer to a patient’s adherence to the course of treatment recommended by a health professional. This can include taking the correct dosage of prescribed medications at the correct time, following recommended diet and exercise plan or refraining from consuming alcohol, etc.
However, there are some patients who intentionally or unintentionally do not follow the medical advice given by a health professional. For example, the patient will forget to take medicine at correct times (unintentional), or he will continue consuming alcohol despite doctor’s warning (intentional). This is referred to as non- compliance. Poor knowledge about health and medicine, poor communication, or lack of trust in the health professional, the cost of medicine, complexity of the regime are some causes for non-compliance. Non-compliance can result in worsening of the medical condition.
What is Concordance?
In medicine, concordance describes a process by which a patient and a health care professional make decisions together about treatment.
The term concordance has been introduced to medicine to connote a more equal relationship between the patient and health care provider. Unlike compliance or adherence which describes the giving, receiving and following of instructions, concordance refers to a positive approach to the agreement of the two parties on the course of treatment.
Concordance is defined as
A negotiated, shared agreement between clinician and patient concerning treatment regimen(s), outcomes, and behaviors; a more cooperative relationship than those based on issues of compliance and noncompliance. (Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary)
What is the difference between Concordance and Compliance?
Concordance refers to a process by which a patient and a health care professional make decisions together about treatment.
Compliance refers to the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice.
Relationship between Patient and Health Care Provider:
Concordance describes a more equal relationship between the patient and the health care provider.
Compliance describes a relationship where the patient has less power; he merely follows the orders and instructions.
Concordance allows the patient to have more knowledge about his health and the course of treatment.
Compliance may be influenced by patient’s knowledge about his health and medicine.Image Courtesy: “Water jar and pill container” by Pseph (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr “Doctor and couple talking (1)” By Rhoda Baer (Photographer) -released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 8028 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia