One of the most significant burdens on the U.S. healthcare system is nonadherence to drug therapy. Not only does this issue exact a severe toll on patients’ health and quality of life, but the related healthcare costs are also staggering. Studies show that up to 60% of patients struggle with medication adherence, and failure to take prescribed treatment causes an estimated 125,000 avoidable deaths and $100 billion in preventable healthcare costs each year.
For years pharmaceutical companies have tried to address nonadherence by making medications more manageable and convenient to take through drug formulation and delivery method improvements. The latest technologies hold great potential to solve this deep-seated problem. By connecting siloed and fragmented data from key stakeholders, like providers, pharmacies, and payers, and using mobile applications to communicate with patients, the tech sector is stepping with data-driven applications to support and improve medication adherence. Here are three examples:
1. Reminders: Many patients have difficulties understanding and remembering how to take their medications correctly. Complicated medication schedules due to dosing or polypharmacy are common reasons for nonadherence. Patient-friendly mobile applications can use pharmacy data to send out timely automated reminders, such as push notifications, texts, and video messages that help patients stick to prescribed treatments. Additional reminders that a prescription is about to run out help patients stay proactive and further support adherence.
2. Patient education: An easy-to-access patient prescription information portal can offer educational materials on how a medication works, potential side effects, proper drug storage and administration, dosing, what treatment benefits to expect if taken as prescribed, and encouragement to contact their prescriber if anything unexpected occurs. Patient portal technologies can drive health literacy, which impacts treatment adherence and patient outcomes.
3. Motivation: Technology can help motivate patients to stick with their prescribed therapy. Consistent encouragement to complete various therapeutic steps combined with informative tools that drive a better understanding of how those steps pave the way to a meeting patients’ health goals can boost adherence. A 2017 study concluded that gamification – applying video game elements, such as virtual rewards for completing tasks, in a non-gaming environment – was a “valuable technique to motivate people to adhere to medication regimens.” In fact, the healthcare gamification market is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 11.9% from 2019 to 2026. The bottom line is that personalized electronic correspondence promotes patient engagement and empowers patients to strive for therapy independence and self-management.
Healthcare technology applications create opportunities to boost adherence to long-term therapies. While technology cannot replace the relationship between a patient and clinician, it can facilitate better partnerships between healthcare providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies, and patients to enhance outcomes.
Through its next-generation patient access platform, Phil partners with pharmaceutical manufacturers to remove barriers to medication adherence. A seamless online experience empowers patients to access and benefit from their prescribed drug therapies. Visit our website to learn more.