Medication adherence results in an extra $290 billion in costs, due to unnecessary hospital admissions, doctor visits, and lab tests, as well as impacting quality of life for patients. BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy always has our eye to ways to improve patient adherence, since better adherence leads to the best possible treatment outcomes for all of our patients.
A new study by McKesson – a company supplying health information technology, medical supplies, and care management tools – details medication adherence trends that will affect medication adherence strategies in the future. I’ll take a look at these trends, today and next week, in a two-part blog.
The Role of the Pharmacist
The impact of the pharmacist in the medication adherence equation has never been more important – and it continues to grow. Today’s pharmacists are more directly involved in patient interactions, giving them a unique opportunity to deliver adherence support. This is certainly true at BioPlus, where our clinical pharmacists are involved and connected to our patients every step of the way during treatment. Our pharmacists provide counseling about drug therapy management, clinical monitoring, tips to stay adherent, patient education about adverse reactions, and drug utilization reviews.
Pharmacist-patient conversations cover wide ground, such as understanding the health condition, understanding the medication, and how patients can improve their own health outcomes. Prior research demonstrates that direct pharmacist-patient interactions can result in significant improvements to patient adherence.
Technology provides new opportunities for adherence support. For example, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and e-prescribing provide unprecedented access to medical data and ways for stakeholders to connect that never existed before.
BioPlus has been in the forefront of technology-based innovations that can improve adherence. For example, our TAP App (Therapy Access Portal application) offers a system for physicians to e-prescribe with BioPlus. TAP App incorporates other adherence-boosting technology-based features, such as real-time access to patient compliance, refills, drug profile reviews, and interventions by the BioPlus Pharmacy staff.
Regulations Play Their Role
New regulations, such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the HITECH Act, greatly affect how healthcare stakeholders communicate and share information, as well as how practitioners are compensated. All of this, in turn, impacts medication adherence.
Next week, look for my second part in this blog series of trends affecting medication adherence. I’ll be discussing the roles of incentives, adherence programs, physicians, and the healthcare consumers themselves.
Stephen C Vogt, PharmD
President and CEO
McKesson. The Future of Medication Adherence. McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions. 2012.