CEO of MedMinder for Forbes states, medication management is not a new problem. Almost two-thirds of American adults—above 131 million—take prescription medication. As per the National Library of Medicine, 75% of Americans have problem taking their medication as mandated.
When the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the planet, medication management became solely one item on a long list of healthcare problems. Ironically, medication management is an immediate health concern for those most harshly impacted by the shutdowns. Individuals aging and those surviving with multiple, rare, or severe conditions were some of the weakest during the pandemic because they take the most medications and require the most significant access to care and medication management instruments.
Being the CEO of a medication management and pharmacy institution, I have a front-row seat to the challenges. As care teams and healthcare specialists, we are responsible for ensuring patients can pursue through on their healthcare plans. Doing so can greatly improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare spending and advance aging in place for the most helpless.
Current Obstacles to Medication Observances
There are many explanations why people may not take their medications as demanded, including cost, forgetfulness, and lack of access. The results can be severe for a patient’s overall health and costly to both the person and our healthcare procedure.
Medication adherence directs to patients taking their medications at the right dosages, times, and frequency at which a medical specialist directed them. And yet, the industry still tracks compliance data concerning the act of simply filling a prescription or carrying it on hand—not necessarily taking it. The enterprise has settled for “control” as the proxy for adherence, making it highly questioning for healthcare providers and researchers to tie observation with health outcomes accurately.
However, we do understand that patients who take their medications properly have better overall health. Medication management, while occasionally reactive, can also be seen as preventive care against deteriorating conditions and expensive trips to the emergency room. As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more additional than $100 billion of U.S. healthcare dollars spent yearly can be attributed directly to medication non-observances and resulting journeys to the emergency room. Instead of responding to non-adherence challenges, there is an opportunity to move forward.
How Can Healthcare Leaders Help?
The big query healthcare leaders now face is this: How can we help individuals take their medications as requested and keep track of their allegiance? We must find tools to evaluate adherence as handling medicine, not just filling the medication.
The first stage is to redefine how we track adherence collectively. There has historically never been a right way for the industry to track commitment outside “the prescription has been filled.” Providers can best help patients if they can ensure they are physically taking their medicines. With advances in technology and telehealth, care providers can be more present, provide more periodic check-ins and assist patients build a strong care team from afar.
Alongside, we need to increase admission. Cost, transportation, language obstacles, etc., should not and cannot stop people from filling and taking prescriptions as directed by a healthcare provider. According to a current survey by iPrescribe, more than a third of patients do not carry their medication as prescribed owing to the high cost. Healthcare providers should speak with their patients about where they get their medicines and, when possible, help them find cheaper options.
Ultimately, we need to authorize our healthcare providers, especially case supervisors, with resources such as tracking technology so they can spend their valuable time with the actual patient—not in the bathroom or kitchen distributing and counting pills. We should also entrust case managers to better manage their patient’s therapy plans by communicating more directly with pharmacists and physicians.
By improving a patient’s ability to stay adherent, we can improve health results, reduce hospital stays, and avoid unnecessary spending. As business managers and the healthcare industry consider priorities for 2023 and beyond, I assume adherence should be at the top of the checklist.