Are You Taking Your Medicine?

Healthcare has attracted a lot of attention in the last few years. With the American population getting older, the cost of healthcare threatening budgets, and the change of focus from treating an illness to preserving wellness, healthcare providers are finding themselves in a whole new ball game.

There are three major issues being confronted by healthcare providers today. Compliance is the degree to which a patient follows the basic instructions for a given medication. Persistence is the degree to which a patient keeps taking his or her medication over a long period of time. Adherence combines both compliance and persistence. Simply put, are you taking your medicine and are the providers following regulations as they treat you? Adherence rates are currently very low for many drug classes at around 50% Thus,  pharmaceutical companies are focused on pushing adherence rates higher for their chronic care medications. Higher adherence raises pharmaceutical sales and also helps keep people healthier.

The answer to the question: “Are you taking your medicine?” is important to your well-being, but it is also important to the cost of healthcare.  According to the New England Healthcare Institute, the impact of medication adherence to the cost of healthcare is close to $300 billion. Moreover, according to a CVS Caremark study, the total healthcare cost for a person who takes his or her medicine as prescribed is considerably lower than it is for someone who does not. CVS Caremark is the parent company of CVS Pharmacies. The study also discovered that the financial savings resulting from adherence is even more obvious for patients who are 65 and older.

Of course, it is difficult for a pharmacist or a physician to keep track of all these issues when his or her focus is on treating the patient. Pharmacists and physicians either spend extra time and money on patient adherence, or they can rely on help coming from companies who specialize in these issues and are able to address them when the provider can’t.

An example of a company that provides this kind of assistance is PSKW. Established in 2005 and headquartered in Bedminster, New Jersey, it provides programs that help patients boost their medication adherence. It does so by using the Internet to enhance communication between provider and patient, offer opportunities to educate patients, and assist both the patient financially by reducing out-of-pocket co-pay costs.

For example, PSKW has a co-pay program that is very adaptable to meet a variety of patient needs. For instance, some patients rely on government-insured healthcare, while others have private insurance. Some patients can remember to carry their co-pay card with them, while others rely on their pharmacist to keep track of their co-pay assistance programs. PSKW’s co-pay programs use a variety of payment cards, each designed to fit the specific need of a specific brand and patient type.  They include coordination-of-benefits and debit cards; and the dual card, a single card that can deliver different offers to different patient groups. There are also vouchers and coupons.

Of course, the better the relationship and communication between patient and provider, the better the adherence of the patient.  PSKW uses digital technology to assure optimum communication between provider and patient. These technology-based services include Loyalty Card Keys that digitally connect patients to information, state-of-the-art digital patient engagement programs, and to one-to-one personalized physician videos.

All of these services are focused to enhance patient adherence.

The National Council on Patient Information and Education wrote in its report, Enhancing Prescription Medicine Adherence: A National Action Plan, “On a worldwide basis, the World Health Organization (WHO) projects that only about 50 percent of patients typically take their medicines as prescribed.  In the U.S., non-adherence affects Americans of all ages, both genders and is just as likely to involve higher-income, well-educated people as those at lower socioeconomic levels. Furthermore, since lack of medication adherence leads to unnecessary disease progression, disease complications, reduced functional abilities, a lower quality of life, and even premature death, poor adherence has been estimated to cost approximately $177 billion annually in total direct and indirect health care costs.”

Increasing patient adherence results in a healthier population and a more cost-effective healthcare system. Third party companies can assist in reaching the goal.
Source: Business 2 Community