World Hepatitis Day

One of the key messages of today July 28th, World Hepatitis Day, is simply this: hepatitis C is a preventable and treatable disease. The World Health Organization created World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the massive number of people already infected with one of several hepatitis viruses, including the hepatitis C, and how anyone…

Overcoming Lupus Medication Compliance Challenges

The health challenges of lupus can be debilitating, yet two out of three lupus patients cared under Medicaid do not fully comply with their medication treatment plan. This new statistic emerged from a presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals. Poorly controlled lupus can lead to disease…

Expensive Out-of-Pocket Costs: The Latest Treatment Side Effect?

High health care costs leading to financial strain should be considered a side effect of treating a disease for some patients, posits Peter Ubel, M.D., Professor at Duke University, and his colleagues in a provocative new article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most physicians speak openly with patients about a new chemotherapy medication…

Prescribers: Want Your Patients Treated? Then Don’t Hand Them a Prescription

When it comes to the treatment of tricky health conditions with specialty medications – such as Humira or Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis, Vivitrol for alcohol dependence, or medications to treat hepatitis C – patients are more likely to start treatment if their prescribing physician doesn’t hand over a paper prescription. How so? There are three…

Even Doctors Doubt Patients’ Medication Compliance

   Patient medication compliance numbers remain so disappointingly low that even, it seems, doctors assume that their own patients won’t follow medication directions. In a new survey this year by DoctorDirectory.com, the vast majority of physicians (95 percent) think that fewer than 30 percent of their patients are fully compliant with taking their medications. That’s…

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Find Treatment Hard to Stick With

Arthritis & Rheumatism, only one in five people with rheumatoid arthritis reach an adherence rate of at least 80 percent for their oral medications. In addition, one-third of patient taking non-biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) don’t comply with the use of these medications. This study enrolled 107 RA patients during a two-year period at…

Psoriasis: The Summer Sun Approach

It’s fitting that August is National Psoriasis Awareness Month, especially when you consider that the plentiful summer sun this month serves as natural medication for the irritated skin of psoriasis. Sun exposure (just a half hour a day) can help the 7.5 million Americans suffering from psoriasis. Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes…

Chemotherapy on the Brain

Simply surviving cancer gives reason enough to celebrate. To sweeten the pot, researchers at the 2013 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggest cancer survivors garner another perk: cancer appears to confer protection against developing Alzheimer’s disease. Research presented at this conference drew on data collected from 3.5 million veterans age 65 and older who did not…

Pharmacists for Patient Safety

Pharmacists are a key component in improving patient safety, according to a new report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This report, called Making Health Care Safer II, serves as a long-awaited update to the first report on this…

Saving Health Care Dollars, One Injection at a Time

As health care costs continue to rise, cost containment is on everyone’s mind. Cutting services and benefits might save money, but it’s not a very satisfying way to serve patients. Easily implementable health care practices and policies that reduce costs while preserving high-level care make much more sense. Self-administration of injectable medications fits the bill…

Prescription “Stretching” Harms Health

Health care costs for patients, including prescription medications, continue to rise. Out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions reached $45 billion for Americans in 2011 (the most recent year data is available). For a growing number of people, Rx costs simply exceed their ability to pay. Overburdened Americans rely on two less-than-healthy methods to stretch their health care…

Facing the Next Disaster with Better Technology

As Hurricane Sandy made landfall, many hospitals throughout the region faced the difficult decision of whether to care in place for their patients after their generators failed or evacuate patients to other locations. Likewise, some individual households with chronically ill family members faced the same dilemma. The successful evacuation of the 700 patients from Bellevue…

Medication Compliance Opportunities, Part 2

In last week’s blog, I discussed a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that reviewed evidence from 68 scientific articles in an effort to determine which interventions are most effective in improving medication adherence.  This report noted that effective interventions include case management education, reminders, pharmacist-led approaches, decision aids, reducing…

Medication Compliance Opportunities, Part 1

While everyone agrees that better medication adherence would improve treatment outcomes and save money—what isn’t so clear-cut is which methods are the most effective to achieve this goal. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, recently stepped into this discussion.   Reports released…

You Care Because You Ask

Guest Blog: Kathy Norris, Patient Care Manager at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy  “You care because you ask.” This response came to me from a patient who I had just scheduled for her monthly medication delivery. The medication treated her chronic disease, but unfortunately, the side effects from this medication can be almost as difficult to deal…

De-Stressing Puts the Brakes on MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease; slowing the advance of this disease improves quality of life for patients. Learning stress management techniques can be just as effective as medications for delaying MS progression in some patients, says David C. Mohr, Ph.D. and fellow researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.   Dr….