Incredible advances have been made in medicine and pharmaceutical science over the years, however, the benefits from these advances will not be realized if prescribed medications are not taken. Of all the medications prescribed by physicians, only ¾ are ever taken by patients, and of those, less than ½ finish them as prescribed. The avoidable healthcare costs associated with medication nonadherence has been quantified to be between $100B to $300B in the US alone representing 3% to 10% of all healthcare spending. That is a significant problem!
We all lead busy lives and are regularly bombarded with information and decisions to make. It’s not surprising then that two of the key reasons listed for noncompliance are a lack of knowledge and forgetfulness (other reasons include cost and inability to get a medication filled). This is only exacerbated when a patient is taking multiple medications at a time. Just as technology has come to the rescue to help us manage and prioritize our busy schedules, so too can it be leveraged to solve this challenge.
There are good business reasons for adopting technology to help manage our medications. With recent health reforms, payment models are moving away from the fee-for-service model to ones that are value based. Hospitals are also facing stiff penalties when patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. These are having the unintended effect of driving new solutions to address these challenges.
Organizations like eMedonline are developing smartphone based solutions to improve medical adherence and achieving great results, but what about the demographic that are not comfortable using these? With advances in conversational UX platforms like Amazon’s Alexa and data analytics, these challenges can be solved through technologies that interact with patients in very comfortable and non-intimidating ways. They also allow users to interact at regular times to help inform them of the importance of taking their medication and help to remind them of which medication to take when. The LifePod product does all this as well as notify caregivers when a patient is not being compliant, allowing them to intervene sooner.
Knowing that certain patients are more at risk than others, predictive analytics can be leveraged to identify those patients who would be most impacted by non-compliance and prioritize solutions for those individuals. Predictive analytics uses info like past treatment outcomes, the latest research, and in the case of using conversational UX platforms like Alexa, past interactions and medication compliance to predict outcomes and measure changes in behavior. These solutions can help educate users about the benefits of their medication when taken properly, remind them to take them and monitor for compliance. Devices like the LifePod can also observe changes in behavior patterns that could be indicative of deteriorating health conditions and alert family members or their clinicians in order to provide additional support.
It is encouraging to see the level of development activities in these areas. Adoption of these solutions could not only save significant costs in healthcare delivery, it would also save many lives.
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