Small Steps toward Greater Medication Adherence


Resolutions for 2010 are top of mind now and living healthier is one of the most common. So it seems timely to revisit a “2 a day” approach to boosting medication adherence that was first outlined at NCPA’s most recent convention during a speech by Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce T. Roberts, RPh. Here are some excerpts:

 

“The cost to our society of patients not taking their medicine correctly is $290 billion a year. That’s right, 290 billion with a B…..three times the projected cost of health care reform.  Friends, that’s real money—even in Washington, D.C.

 

“That’s a huge opportunity — if we position ourselves correctly. Mirixa is part of that positioning. It can work with health plans, employers, and pharmaceutical companies to involve—and pay—pharmacists for helping patients take their medicines correctly and improving clinical outcomes.

 

“This reminds me of something that former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once said.  ‘Medicines don’t work in people who don’t take them.’

 

“It’s as simple — and complex — as that.

 

“Our good friends at the Smith Drug Company in Spartanburg, South Carolina, know this.

 

“Their employees and their families have an extensive wellness program, including diabetes compliance.

 

“By using education and information from pharmacists, Smith saw the cost of care for compliant employees with diabetes drop from $11,600 each in 2006 to $5,400 in 2007. The cost for noncompliant employees rose to $13,000 each.

 

“That, too, is real money and if scaled to our entire health care system the numbers become staggering. 

 

“The reality is that treatment of disease is increasingly dependent on prescription medicines.  We as an industry and profession must do our part to make sure the system gets the full benefit of those medications. 

 

“I believe that medication adherence should be a core competency for every pharmacist.  I also believe that attention to patient adherence must become the standard of practice for pharmacists in the future.

 

“So NCPA is challenging the profession that as one of its most crucial and basic functions, community pharmacists will  advocate and promote to patients the importance of taking their medication as prescribed —as simple and complex as that.

 

“All it takes is a commitment.  A commitment to ‘2 a day.’ Start by committing to talk to just two of your diabetes or hypertension patients every day about the importance of staying on their medications.

 

“Helping them manage their diabetes could put a serious dent in the $174 billion annual U.S. health care price tag for treating diabetes, while saving thousands of patients from a limb being amputated, or blindness, or a life cut short.

 

“That is success — no matter how you count it — anywhere.” 

 

2 Responses to “Small Steps toward Greater Medication Adherence”


  1. 1 Matthew January 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    The costs to the healthcare system on a yearly basis due to lack of medication adherence are astonishing. What’s worse is if you think these numbers are new. They have been in the hundreds of billions for years now. Attention to this issue must move to the forefront. The 2 a day action mentioned above is one of a number of ways we can begin to battle issues with adherence. There are numerous products and companies that can help combat medication non-adherence, although their popularity, or even knowledge of existence seems to remain low. However, the primary issue in my mind is education. Patients need to understand their medications and why it is essential for them to take them as advised. And this starts in the doctors office or pharmacy. New technologies and other tools can then be used to reinforce what the caregivers should be communicating the the patients.

    • 2 Eran Shavelsky February 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      I agree Matthew with your comment. Education is key so the patients understand the importance of taking meds on time. Moreover, it is critical to have ‘continuous education’ so you can provide positive feedback and constructive feedback according to the patient’s success. Our MedMinder system’ (www.medminder.com) provides caregivers with the records of the patient’s medication activity so caregivers could act upon that and have better conversations with the patients. Using this kind of technology will empower better specific and personal education.


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