Solutions to Medication Adherence Are Within Reach

By | September 24, 2013

Adherence360 strives to improve medication adherence by promoting broad-based, multidisciplinary thinking and discussion; based on 360-degree viewpoints.

Medication Adherence Is a Vital Healthcare Issue.

The bottom line for patients who do not take their medications as prescribed is clear. It results in poorer health, more visits to emergency departments, and more admissions to hospital. Use of these extra healthcare services also adds to costs. A recent estimate  puts those added costs at around $300 billion a year. That’s about 12% of current annual U.S. healthcare spend. These extra costs could be avoided with better medication adherence.

As a nation and as individuals we cannot ignore this. Significant improvements in adherence will help improve patient outcomes, help control rising healthcare spend, and help protect everyone’s wallets.

Improving medication adherence: scattered jigsaw pieces.Current Activities to Address the Problem Are Fragmented.

Improving adherence to medications is not a simple task. There are many different parts to the problem; many different interested parties; and many different possible answers. Throwing all this together, you currently get a messy, jumbled-up picture – just like the jigsaw pieces in the image to the left.

Here are a few examples to illustrate this point:

Information on adherence is scattered and disconnected The volume of information on medication adherence is truly impressive. However, it’s widely scattered and is often presented as individual, disconnected ‘nuggets’. This makes it difficult to pull together answers to key questions such as: which interventions work, and in what situations?

Many different reasons for non-adherence – Patients don’t take their medications as instructed for a large variety of reasons. Also individual patients’ reasons for non-adherence differ widely from one person to the next. There’s no simple ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to improving adherence. To address each individual patient’s need will most likely require a mix of different answers.

Many different individual solutions – A variety of approaches to improving adherence have been studied. However, most have only been tested as individual, standalone solutions. It’s not clear how these individual answers will fit into the multi-component solutions that are needed.

Key healthcare professional groups aren’t thinking together about solutions – Different healthcare professional groups (eg, physicians, pharmacists, or payers) may provide different parts of multi-component solutions to medication adherence. These groups will therefore need to work together closely to create these integrated solutions. For the moment however, these groups appear to be operating independently, with only limited cross-group thinking.

Absence of leadership – There are no clear leaders of efforts to improve adherence. This lack of leadership and coordination contributes to fragmentation and inefficiencies.

Improving Medication Adherence_complete_08-25-13Adherence360 Advocates a Different Approach.

The idea for Adherence360 arose out of the need for more integrated approaches to solving medication adherence – like putting all the jigsaw pieces together to get a better picture.

Adherence360 aims to draw important strands together and help expedite creation of cohesive, comprehensive solutions. Through this approach readers will hopefully gain better insights into how the various moving parts can best be linked together to produce multi-component solutions. Solutions that both improve adherence and are customized to specific patient needs.

To achieve this, we’ll work to:

                  1. Look at the adherence problem from all sides, drawing on 360-degree viewpoints
                  2. Better link together the available ‘nuggets’ of information on adherence
                  3. Encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary thinking and discussion
                  4. Facilitate fresh ideas about how practical, multi-component solutions can be put together

Please join in! I very much welcome your inputs, comments, or suggestions on the general approach and on content.

If you would like to contribute a guest blog, that’s also very welcomed. Just contact me at steve.morris@adherence360.com.