Just how big a problem is medication non-compliance becoming?
In this article, Yaara Grinberg Dana, VP of Partnerships at MediSafe, discusses how poor adherence rates have significant consequences to the public health and present a massive burden on the world’s healthcare system, both in terms of quality of care and health costs. It costs the United States $290 billion in preventable U.S. healthcare costs per year, a sure factor in the country’s ever-climbing insurance premiums. In Europe, missed medication doses and non-adherence has been estimated to cause approximately 194,500 deaths each year in Europe, and costs the European Union $125 billion annually.
There are several reasons why people fail to adhere to their medication. Some of these reasons include: forgetfulness, lack of information about the medication and its importance in treating a chronic condition, lack of a social support network in helping a patient mange his or her medication intake, and a busy interrupted schedule. Today, with the proliferation of mobile technologies, there are holistic solutions to address these challenges of medication non-adherence.
Mobile health (mHealth) is a growing industry as the smartphone is becoming more accessible and manageable for both the young and old. Currently, Europe is the fastest growing segment for mHealth and is expected to become the largest global market by 2018, with a $6.9 billion market opportunity. Implementing mHealth solutions in Europe could cut costs for chronic conditions by approximately €100 billion, and potentially add €93 billion in gross revenue. mHealth can have an important role in facilitating the patient/physician relationship, increasing engagement through online platforms or apps. This two way relationship enables physicians to communicate with the patient in order to make informed recommendations.
Creating solutions that help patients better manage their medications is a step in the right direction of connecting the entire health ecosystem. Increasing medication adherence rates not only increases better health outcomes but it helps curb health care costs.
Properly managing medications goes beyond just consuming the pills. According to the World Health Organization , “Enlisting the support of family members and ‘significant others,’ or employing ‘treatment buddies’ to administer medications can greatly enhance adherence… Strategies such as providing rewards, reminders and family support to reinforce the new behavior have been found to improve adherence in chronic illnesses.”
The right solution provides a social support network as well as a technological tool, increasing the level of patient engagement. At MediSafe, our own solution was the first to connect family members and caregivers with the patient. Innovations that can enhance actions of a doctor, nurse, or caretaker such as medication management platforms have a lot of potential in improving health outcomes.
This is an exciting time for the mHealth industry, and companies entering the mHealth space need to think in a patient’s mindset – what are their needs, wants. Companies should constantly learn and grow from their users.