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Medication adherence programs get more effective.

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Community pharmacy programs combined with new metrics can help drive better medication adherence, according to Walgreen Co. research presented at a health care summit in Philadelphia last month.

The World Congress Summit to Improve Adherence and Enhance Patient Engagement gathered medical experts to address the various ways in which effective interventions and coordination can improve adherence rates and drive better patient outcomes.

The Walgreens research, "The Critical Role Retail Pharmacy Plays to Improve Adherence," demonstrates the company's success in improving patient medication adherence by developing an infrastructure that tracks patient-level adherence and uses predictive modeling along with risk stratification to identify patient patterns.

Part of the objective was to create a daily process for tracking patients' adherence to one or more drugs and to proactively influence patients to monitor and take control of their condition.

Kristi Rudkin, senior director of product development at Walgreens, and Michael Taitel, the company's senior director of clinical outcomes and analytic services, discussed the research findings along with product-specific interventions focused on empowering patients to better self-manage their condition.

The discussion also examined the latest research related to new-to-therapy counseling and automated interactive voice response (IVR) refill reminders.

"Medication nonadherence is one of the greatest and most costly barriers in treating illness today," Rudkin said. "By developing programs and services that can help reduce these barriers and by examining ways to drive cost savings and improved health outcomes through better adherence, we can help more people get, stay and live well."

Walgreens notes that new-to-therapy patients often face adherence challenges while trying to learn a new medication regimen. A retrospective cohort study assessing the impact of pharmacist-led, face-to-face counseling in new-to-therapy statin patients found that, compared to usual pharmacy care, those patients receiving face-to-face counseling had 7.2% higher adherence.

Forgetfulness can also be a contributor to nonadherence. In a pilot program, automated refill reminders significantly improved patient adherence to medications used to treat chronic conditions.

Patients who received automated IVR telephone reminders had a significantly higher medication possession ratio compared with patients who did not receive reminders. What's more, the persistence for the intervention was nearly eight days longer than that of the control group.

"Helping patients improve their medication adherence is a challenge for providers, payers and many others within the health care system," Taitel said. "We've demonstrated the effectiveness of several programs and initiatives--including our new-to-therapy automated refill reminder calls.

"Integrating predictive modeling and Ask stratification will help us be even more effective at driving better adherence and, ultimately, better health outcomes."

According to figures that were presented by Walgreens, medication nonadherence is estimated to cost the U.S. health care system $300 billion dollars per year.
Patients Reporting Adherence Barrier

Forgetfulness       63%

Side effects        5.3%

Doubts need
for medication      4.8%

Complexity          2.9%

Other              13.8%

Cost               10.1%

Source: Walgreens.

Note: Table made from pie chart.
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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Apr 8, 2013
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