Patient Adherence: Part 2 of 3

Adherence to prescribed medications is associated with improved clinical outcomes, especially for chronic disease management and reduced mortality from chronic conditions. Conversely, non-adherence is associated with higher rates of hospital admissions, suboptimal health outcomes, increased morbidity and mortality, and increased healthcare costs.

As we discussed in last week’s blog, there are different types of non-adherence and consequences that go along with them. And though non-adherence is a public health concern, there are ways healthcare providers can help increase adherence, which ultimately has a positive impact on long-term health.

In this second of our three-part series, we focus on two ways to improve adherence.

Reduce barriers to obtaining medication including lower costs, to retain or re-engage patients at the point of care.

In office medication dispensing helps reduce barriers whether physical or financial, by allowing physicians to offer medications at point of care, at a cost that is the same or lower than pharmacies and/or copays.

And, telehealth medicine takes away any physical barriers of care, by enabling the patient to meet with their physician virtually. This gives the physician the opportunity to discuss the treatment plan, prescribe the medication and send it directly to the patient’s home.

Whether meeting in person or virtually, patients are given an immediate start on their treatment by not only getting the medication(s) they need at the point of care, but patients have an opportunity to get answers to questions they may have, ensuring they understand the purpose and desired outcomes.

Educate and empower patients to understand the treatment regimen and its benefits.

In the United States, 3.8 billion prescriptions are written each year, approximately one in five new prescriptions are never filled, and among those filled, approximately 50% are taken incorrectly (i.e., timing, dosage, frequency, and duration).

A proven, cost-effective strategy to reducing unintentional non-adherence is the use of pre-packaged medication regimens to keep instructions as clear and simple as possible. This helps the patient feel more empowered about their ability to maintain their health.

You can also combine the ease of pre-packaged medications with effective behavioral prompts. One example is electronic pill monitors*. These monitors can help support increased medication adherence by reminding patients to take their medication and providing messages to healthcare providers when a scheduled dose is missed.

Rate of adherence is usually reported as the percentage of the prescribed doses of the medication actually taken by the patient over a specific period of time. Although the extent of non-adherence varies widely, where some can be intentional. However, non-adherence can also occur because patients are either unaware they are not taking medications as prescribed, or the regimen is just too complex.

Pharma Pac can help you get set up as a in house medication provider in three easy steps. Click here to get started.

*Pharma Pac is not a provider of electronic pill monitors.

Sources: World Health Organization, CDC & U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

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