In the next part of our blog series on Population Health we dive into a topic that we see the healthcare ecosystem battle with everyday – adherence to medication and care plan treatment.

The challenges in understanding the causes and effects of treatment adherence and their impact on the health of certain patient populations has become a focus of many industry organizations, and with innovations in digital health further opening the doors of possibility, it  may be the answer we’ve been looking for.

 


 

Roughly 80% of all patient-provider interactions in the United States ends with at least one prescription—amounting to about 40 billion prescriptions a year. But how does a provider ensure that their young patient is taking their medication at the right dosage? How can a family member ensure that their elderly mother has remembered to refill her prescriptions?

 

With patients adhering to only 50% of drugs prescribed for chronic disease, we’re left with a highly preventable gap in the care continuum. The World Health Organization (WHO) states medication non-adherence as a high priority, preventable health problem, creating a clear barrier to improved outcomes. The monetary costs are estimated at $300 billion a year in avoidable health care expenses (roughly $1000 a person), with more serious non-monetary costs such as re-hospitalization, morbidity, or mortality.

 

Development and use of mobile health tools provides opportunities to connect patients with their providers outside of the clinical setting, creating a transparent partnership towards chronic disease management. They can help providers monitor patient results and make better and quicker decisions about doses and scheduling. The more than 90 million patients who struggle to understand and act on the health information they’re provided can play a more educated, engaged role in their health, and therefore more likely adhere to their care plan.

 

It costs pharmaceutical companies billions, but is also costing providers who may be unable to meet accountable outcomes such as hospital readmission rates, physician quality reporting system (PQRS) measures or Medicare star ratings. For this reason, industry giants like Pfizer and Merck, as well as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, are eager to implement robust medication implementation programs but are often faced with organization barriers, such as inability to develop a clear ROI and insufficient budgets. Pharmaceutical companies can monitor efficacy, adherence, and access real-time data regarding their patients. Payers can reduce healthcare costs and subsequent premiums. The incentives to engage in holistic healthcare are tenfold for these stakeholders and mHealth provides a consistent, accessible solution to these problems.

 

Our approach needs to be both multifaceted and flexible in response to the most common barriers in the way of adherence. The healthcare industry could save $290 billion a year by using mobile health technology. The challenge now is configuring medication management in a way that allows patients to seamlessly integrate it into their daily life. This requires an inexpensive, user-friendly interface for patients combined with clinical validation for providers.

 

At Veta Health, adherence is just a portion of our holistic view towards patient-centered care. We’re looking forward to addressing these challenges with our digital solutions for integrated self-managed care that allow patients and providers to co-produce better outcomes. The investment into healthcare technologies is the beginning of achieving our nation’s short and long-term goals regarding patient and value-centered care.