Whether undergoing treatment for a short-term illness or a chronic condition, one of the most common causes of poor patient-outcomes is the lack of adherence to a therapy regimen. Patients often do not take medication as directed, so what can be done to ensure that patients take the right dose of the right medication at the right time?
Adherence has long been an issue for prescription medications and should be a concern for over-the-counter (OTC) remedies as well.
The consequences of non-adherence are significant in terms of patient outcomes. The U.S.-based Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI) estimates the impact of poor or non-adherence as follows:
- 17% increase in Emergency Room visits and a 10% increase in hospital stays, especially among patients with diabetes, asthma, or chronic gastric disorders
- 50% or more of hospital readmissions are medication related
- 125,000 mortalities annually due to poor medication adherence
In an environment of increasing attention to health care expenses, non-adherence is estimated to cost the U.S. health care system between $100-289 billion every year.
And now, as fee-for-service models are replaced by value-based healthcare and outcome-based payments, adherence management stands out as an opportunity for insurance companies, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies to improve patient care while reducing the overall cost to the system.
Work is underway on a variety of systems to improve adherence, and enhanced patient engagement has already been proven to be effective. A recent study from the National Community Pharmacist Association (NCPA) shows that engaged patients are 2.57 times more likely to adhere to medication plans.
Today, pharmaceutical brands and health care providers can leverage an innovative technology to effectively keep patients engaged and informed. Thinfilm’s NFC solutions – including SpeedTap™ and OpenSense™ tags – are thin, flexible NFC labels that can easily be integrated into primary/secondary packaging, pill bottles, and other containers, making those packages instantly interactive through NFC-enabled smartphones. NFC tags can also enhance patient engagement when integrated into medical devices, such as the YpsoMate® Smart auto-injector pen.
The simple touch of an NFC-enabled smartphone to a uniquely identifiable NFC tag triggers a digital lookup that can display – on the patient’s own smartphone or one provided as part of an adherence program – up-to-date information about product usage, dosages, ingredients, safety recalls, and other critical data.
The same touch of the smartphone can trigger a digital compliance log that can help patients remember to take the right medication, at the right dose, at the right time. In addition, the patient can have the option to share information with their health care provider and the pharmaceutical manufacturer, as appropriate.