Medications generally sit at the heart of a care plan for those with a chronic disease, yet medication adherence by patients continues to be an ongoing concern. Estimates note that 75% of Americans are not taking their medication exactly as directed by their health care professional. Meanwhile, nonadherence aligns with poorer outcomes, as well as unnecessary and avoidable health care costs.
Mobile health technology and solutions continue to chip away at this issue of patient medication adherence. Examples of new technologies that can be applied to adherence related to ‘forgetfulness’ include:
- Smart packaging
- Smartphone enabled pills/pill packaging
- Digital reminders such as setting a phone alarm or recurring calendar listing
- Digital messages to health care providers to alert them to patients’ missed doses
These digital adherence tools pair with more “old school” methods to improve adherence in patients, including:
- Patient education about the importance of medication compliance
- Simplified medication dosing (example: if possible, take a medication in a higher dosage once daily instead of a lower dosage twice daily)
- Reminder and check-in calls from health care professionals
- Reminder calls from the pharmacy/specialty pharmacy for prescription refills
Even something as simple as a text reminder sent from a health care professional to a patient, research shows, can double adherence rates.
Of course, it should also be noted that there are several issues related to adherence that cannot be resolved with better communication tools, such as patient financial barriers. A recent report discovered that 20% of adults with diabetes have taken a lower dosage than prescribed or delayed refilling their medications due to the financial burden of treatment.
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy offers patients numerous ways to improve adherence, addressing multiple types of adherence barriers, from reminders and refill scheduling to financial assistance. In fact, the financial assistance program at BioPlus was a significant part of the reason that BioPlus earned a #1 ranking in patient satisfaction of independent specialty pharmacies in the Specialty Pharmacy Patient Satisfaction Survey (Quarter 1, 2017) conducted by Zitter Health Insights.
Lawrence L. Adult diabetic medication adherence tied directly to financial issues. Med Econ August 11, 2017.
Thakkar J, Kurup R, Laba T-L. Mobile telephone text messaging for medication adherence in chronic disease. JAMA Int Med 2016;176(3):340-9.