Drug Non-Adherence Costs $290 Billion Per Year; Health Plans Have Tools to Address the Problem

The UPI reports on a campaign called “Script Your Future” which focuses on ensuring patients are taking the right medications needed for their chronic condition.  The article notes the U.S. Surgeon General’s comments on the issue:

“Our national challenge is to prevent poor health outcomes and to become a healthy and fit nation. One way is for the healthcare community and patients to come together to address medication non-adherence, which is a major public health problem,” Benjamin said in a statement. “Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals can help prevent many serious health complications by initiating conversations with their patients about the importance of taking medication as directed. This is especially important for people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure, who may have a number of medicines to take each day.”

Many health plans are partners in the campaign and helping ensure that patients are getting the right care and right medication.  As the campaign notes “…one of the most important ways you can manage your condition is by taking your medicine as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional. This is also known as medication adherence.”

So what are health plans doing?  You can learn more by checking out a series of innovations books put together by AHIP’s Center for Policy and Research.  An overview of the types of programs and tools plans are using sums it up best:

“For patients discharged from hospitals following acute episodes complicated by serious conditions such as heart failure and diabetes, health plans are arranging for phone calls and, in some cases, in-home visits by nurses and other professionals to make sure that follow-up appointments are kept, medications are being taken safely, care plans are being followed, medical equipment is delivered, and home health care is being received. They are offering intensive case management to help patients at high risk of hospitalization access the medical, behavioral health, and social services they need.  For frail, vulnerable patients, health plans are arranging for home visits by multidisciplinary teams of clinicians, who provide comprehensive care, teach patients and their caregivers how to take medications correctly, and link families with needed community resources such as transportation and Meals on Wheels.”

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