50 percent of patients receiving chronic care management are not taking their medications correctly. This might not seem significant but this negligence in medication adherence actually affects the patient’s health and has huge consequences in the country’s healthcare bill, too, as it can drive up costs up to $300 billion – that’s expenses that are avoidable.
There may be a number of reasons patients fail to take drugs as prescribed. Some have financial concerns, others are worried about the side effects, while others simply forget about them. And even if there are smart technologies these days that certainly help the health care systems, pharmacies, and patients improve their medication regimen, there’s still a need for good old human interaction from their health care providers.
In this post, we are going to dive deeper into the future of medication adherence and why we think the best approach is to combine advanced technology and human interaction:
The Problem with Adherence
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once said “Drugs do not work in patients who do not take them.” This certainly makes sense. This is also heavily reflected in recent surveys that showed 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled and 50 percent of patients with either cardiovascular disease or chronic disease aren’t taking their drugs as prescribed by their doctor. 51 percent of patients over the age of 65 take five prescription drugs or more daily and 63 percent of them admit to forgetting their medications.
It is important that your adherence be improved as it can significantly affect healthcare and hospitalization costs. For instance, for every 10 percent adherence increase, there’s a drop of 28 percent in total health care costs.
Technologies That Can Improve Adherence
It’s not surprising that technological innovators are working hard to improve the way patients take pills. Adherence applications in smartphones are widely used, and software and programs for health systems are also growing in popularity. There are text message reminders, calendars, and other pill reminder apps.
There is even an InPower medication dispenser that alerts patients when they are supposed to take their meds. With a cellular connection that syncs to the pharmacy portal, clinicians are able to track whether or not the patient adheres to their meds intake schedule and dose. Additionally, there are remote patient monitoring systems like the one from Medistics that also show test results taken at home and can alert patients if there are irregularities. There’s a high potential of this working in sync with medication adherence applications in the future.
The Human Touch’s Role
Healthcare providers and doctors can still be the connecting factor between patients and elements that could affect nonadherence. Communication is especially important as it is shown that poor communication leads to a 19 percent higher risk of patients skipping their meds.
Technology and personal interaction therefore need to integrate to help patients go through the complex journey of doing annual wellness visits, going to the pharmacies, taking care of their insurance, managing their chronic condition, and yes, adhering to their prescribed medication. Apps can be used to track a patient’s adherence, but it is still up to healthcare providers to determine, for instance, the reason a patient fails to adhere to the recommended schedule or dosage. For one, if side effects are the reason, then healthcare providers can help strategize to eradicate those effects or if need be, to change the medication.
Like adherence applications that can dramatically improve the way patients adhere to taking their medications, Medistics Health’s Patient Monitoring system can significantly improve overall chronic care management, too. This allows health care providers to check in on their patients if there are any irregularities in their tests and improve their chances of addressing potential issues immediately. Contact us today to know more about our patient monitoring system.