Word of the Week: Adherence

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Alex Dos Diaz / Verywell

Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.


How to say it: Adherence (add-hear-ins)

What it means: When it's used in a medical context, it means to follow directions—like taking a prescription or doing things that are part of your treatment plan.

Where it comes from: The Latin word adhaerentia, which means "stick to."

A pharmacist talking to an older Black woman about medication.
 National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

Where you might see or hear it: Your doctor might write in your medical record that you have been adhering to your treatment plan if you have been following directions and meeting goals.

When you might want to use it: If you have not been taking your medications as prescribed or getting to your scheduled appointments, you might tell your doctor that you are finding it hard to adhere to your treatment plan.

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