Tips for Increasing Patient Medication Adherence

medical-blister-cardAt a time when patients have more control over what medications they take, and how they take them, than ever before, patient medication adherence has become a major issue for our health care system. What many people don’t realize is the cost involved when patients do not practice medication adherence. When we say costs, we are not merely talking about dollars, we are talking about the cost to the patient’s overall health, as well as the system. Non adherence leads to delays in wellness, and sometimes even hospital re-admittance. Delays in wellness mean more doctor visits, more medication, and more burden to an already overburdened system. How well patients adhere to their doctor’s prescribing medication therapy has a direct impact on annual healthcare costs. Finding ways to reduce these unnecessary health expenses should be a priority, as it will increase wellness by providing a more efficient and better health care system for everyone.

What steps can be taken to increase adherence?
Based on extensive research into the subject, there are at least four strategies that can be implemented to increase adherence:

Medication Packaging
How medications are packaged can have a significant impact on how well patients adhere to the prescribing plan. According to the New England Healthcare Institute’s (NEHI) paper, “Thinking Outside the Pillbox”, the U.S. incurs an annual cost of $300 billion due to poor medication adherence, with much of it stemming from poor patient outcomes in one form or another.

Many reasons for poor patient outcomes that contribute to this number (e.g., fear of unknown side effects, poor medication information, and complex prescribing schedules) can be effectively addressed through the use of “smart packaging” for medication, such as blister packs that contain essential information that helps patients use their medications as prescribed.

At Drug Package, we specialize in creating novel medication packaging that helps increase medication adherence. With increased adherence comes better patient outcomes, which mitigates the cost of hospital readmissions and return doctor visits for the same health issue.

Care Teams
Another reason why patients fail to adhere to the prescribing plan is a lack of contact with the prescriber. Due to heavy patient loads, many doctors lack the time to return patient phone calls expeditiously. According to a recent article at managedcaremag.com, “Support through the creation of care teams incorporating nurses, care managers, pharmacists and other clinicians either inside or outside the physician’s practice” can increase medication adherence by providing patients with greater access to parties that can advise them on medication issues.

Patient Education
According to NEHI, “Counseling by primary care providers and pharmacists to help patients understand their disease and the important role of their medication in improving their condition is critical to motivating patients” to adhere to the prescribing plan. Smart packaging can also play a role in patient education by providing information that supports the information received from these parties, such as dosing schedules, medicine interaction warnings, and potential side effects.

Information Technologies
Advancements in information technology (IT) have made it possible for physicians and pharmacies to better gauge patient medication adherence, and create solutions to reduce non-adherence in a timely manner. NEHI notes that “A patient medication profile in a health IT system would give providers a full sense of a patient’s current medications and, if linked to a pharmacy system, would indicate whether a patient filled or refilled a given medication.”

When it comes to increasing patient medication adherence, knowledge is indeed power, but there must be a system for gaining knowledge in an efficient manner, and sharing it with the necessary parties simultaneously. Developing and implementing such a system may require you to invest in the services of an IT provider, but the lower health care costs that improved medication adherence would create can justify the investment, especially in the long-term.

Contact Us Today
Drug Package specializes in providing high-quality medication packaging that helps to increase patient medication adherence. We can customize blister packaging to make it easier for patients to learn essential information about their medications, and how take them as prescribed. In addition to improving patient health outcomes and cutting healthcare costs, our solutions can help physicians, pharmacies, drug companies, and insurance carriers.

For more information about our products and services, call us today at (800) 325-6137, or email us at info@drugpackage.com. We look forward to helping you reduce annual healthcare costs by increasing patient medication adherence with high-quality drug packaging.