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Improving Medication Adherence

Today, 82 percent of adults in the United States regularly take at least one medication, while 29 percent take five or more. Unfortunately, many aren’t taking them as prescribed. Research shows that than 90 million adults across the country lack the ability to understand the healthcare information needed to make appropriate decisions and take their medications as directed.

As today’s healthcare landscape continues to make value-based care a priority, it’s critical that health plans focus on keeping people healthy through engaged patients. To do so, many are implementing programs avoid poor medical outcomes, especially those caused by medication non-adherence.

Factors that Contribute to Non-Adherence

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 33-66 percent of all medication-related hospitalizations that occur within the U.S. are caused by poor medication adherence. Further, half of patients with chronic conditions do not take their medications as prescribed, and close to 30 percent never even fill them.

So, why is it so difficult for patients to take their medications as directed? Studies indicate that there are a variety of factors, including time management, lack of knowledge, motivation and/or negative side effects. In addition, people who fail to adhere to treatment plans often have multiple conditions to manage, fall within the low-income subsidy status, aren’t loyal to a single pharmacy or haven’t been enrolled in an automatic refill program.

How to Move the Needle

To successfully initiate change, health plans should look into implementing programs that are designed to encourage proper adherence and foster positive results. Here are a few key steps to consider:

  • Identify and target those at risk of non-adherence. Using next-generation technology, health plans should collect and analyze predictive analytics to identify those at higher risk for non-adherence and who would benefit from an intervention and/or general support with their treatment plan.
  • Provide personalized health coaching. Organizations should provide easy access to medical professionals who can work with members on a personal level to map out their care plan in a way that drives behavior and lifestyle changes.
  • Share educational resources. Finally, plans need to provide evidence-based content that outlines the benefits of taking medication as prescribed and highlights the potential drawbacks of non-adherence.

Achieving Results

Health Dialog has years of experience implementing programs to successfully improve medication adherence across diverse populations. To-date, we’ve seen remarkable results, including better clinical outcomes and a decreased use of expensive and avoidable healthcare services.

We recently conducted a case study analysis to determine the impact of our methodology and approach, which proved to generate tangible results. Our study found that participants who worked with health coaches achieved a total of 80 percent days covered for hypertension medications and diabetes medications at 20 percent and 15 percent higher rates, respectively.

If you’re interested in learning more about our methodology, and how you can improve patient engagement and initiate behavior change when it comes to medication adherence, contact us today, or see our whitepaper on Improving Medication Adherence.

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