Anchoring is defined as having the tendency to make subsequent judgements based on the first piece of information received. A group of researchers determined that anchoring improves patient adherence to injections for psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which is managed with several different medications. Among these medications, biological therapy has been proven to be effective; however, adherence can be difficult because of the fear associated with injections.
A research letter published in JAMA describes the results of a study conducted to determine if anchoring patients diagnosed with psoriasis before initiation of treatment would improve treatment compliance. Anchoring is defined as having the tendency to make subsequent judgements based on the first piece of information received. In this study, the researchers assessed if patients offered with monthly injections for psoriasis would adhere to the injection if they were initially presented with a once-daily injection. A total of 100 patients diagnosed with psoriasis, aged 18 years and older and not previously prescribed injectable medications were included in the study. Participants were randomized to two groups. One group was initially anchored by assessing their willingness to have once-daily injections for their treatment before determining their willingness to have monthly injections. The other group was only asked about their willingness to start a monthly injection.
The results of the study show that the group who received anchoring with a once-daily injection were more willing to start a monthly injection compared to the other. Anchoring has been studied in other areas such as psychology and behavioral economics, but its applications in the practice of medicine have yet to be proven. One of the issues encountered is the manipulation of the patient perception with regards to their decision making. The clinician is faced with the ethical dilemma of what to use as an acceptable anchor when offering procedures or treatments to patients.
Oussedik, E., et al. (2017). An anchoring based intervention to increase patient willingness to use injectable medication in psoriasis. JAMA Dermatology. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.1271
Written by Karla Sevilla