McKesson Identifies Medication-Adherence Trends

The pharma company has outlined factors that manufacturers and packaging partners should be aware of to improve adherence.

New patient and prescriber research on medication adherence commissioned by McKesson identified seven emerging trends that can impact adherence-support programs. These trends confirm the need for comprehensive adherence solutions that include technology and personalized interactions to help physicians, pharmacists and manufacturers better address barriers that prevent patients from taking their medications as prescribed.

"With increased attention on medication adherence, the industry has made progress; however, we must move more quickly toward a more patient-centered approach," said Peggy Yelinek, vice president and general manager, McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions . "When combined with our extensive experience implementing comprehensive adherence programs, our research clearly validates that technology can be used to enable personalized conversations that result in more meaningful patient interactions and increased engagement. Integrated solutions designed to deliver the right message at the right time, will help patients be more adherent with better health outcomes." Trends Shaping the Future of Medication Adherence The Healthcare Consumer Is Changing -- With the proliferation of digital resources, cultural shifts, and an aging and overweight population, industry focus has shifted from acute care to chronic disease management. With access to credible online healthcare resources, more consumers are seeking information from sources other than their doctors. McKesson research showed that only 55% of patients rely entirely on their physician to make treatment decisions. This shift highlights the need for healthcare stakeholders to engage in conversations with patients online to provide credible support messaging around the importance of adherence.  A recent study found that 20% of Hispanics and African-Americans -- who have the highest prevalence of chronic diseases -- don't comply with their drug regimens. To impact adherence, brands must provide culturally relevant health information and increase touch points through multiple channels.   Pharmacists Deliver More Adherence Support Than Ever -- Often serving as trusted and accessible resources for the community, pharmacists have a unique opportunity to help patients adhere to their medication regimens. Targeted behavioral-based patient conversations delivered in the pharmacy can help patients to better understand their disease or illness, how medication adherence impacts it, and the importance of taking an active role in managing their health outcome. Launched in 2008, McKesson's Pharmacy Intervention Program found that patients who received face-to-face behavioral coaching from their pharmacists showed significant adherence benefits. For example, COPD patients who received coaching showed an average of 1.6 incremental fills over 10 fills, and diabetes patients showed an average adherence increase of 25% over 7 fills when compared to patients who did not receive personalized coaching.   Physicians Critical to Adherence; Need Help -- Physicians are a critical first step in maintaining adherence, as research shows that patients have a 21% greater prescription utilization when they have received clear medication instructions by their physician. While non-adherence is physicians' biggest complaint about their patients, many physicians acknowledge they do not have time for adequate adherence counseling. Recent McKesson research showed that 71% of physicians want more information about adherence-support programs offered by manufacturers.   Advances in Technology Support Adherence -- Emerging technologies like Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and ePrescribing are improving access to data and providing critical linkages across healthcare stakeholders, which create new opportunities to influence adherence and increase patient engagement. The percent of physicians routing ePrescriptions was estimated to reach 36% at the end of 2011, up from 22% at the end of 2010. Studies show a 10% increase in patients picking up their first fill for medications that are ePrescribed.*  The widespread adoption of EHRs has also been successful in driving medication adherence. A recent study by Kaiser Permanente has shown an improved number of patients following physician recommendations on medications for chronic illnesses.   Payment Incentives Influence Health Outcomes -- Payment incentives, part of the Affordable Care Act, have been designed to encourage a focus on chronic-care management and reward health outcomes. Better, more informed conversations between physicians and their patients are proven to improve adherence. A recent study reported that patients filled one-third more prescriptions in their first 150 days of therapy when physicians discussed "why this medication was right for me" with patients.   One-Size-Fits-All Adherence Approach Is Not Effective -- While individual adherence solutions such as predictive modeling, gaming, social media, pharmacy programs and financial incentives have the ability to impact adherence in certain situations, implementing comprehensive adherence solutions is the only way to tackle all the challenges preventing medication adherence. Results from a solution that uses just one tool may become marginalized if the program does not address the underlying barriers of adherence. As new solutions arise, it is critical for pharmaceutical marketers -- and the patients they serve -- to identify integrated solutions that have demonstrated proven success in modifying behavior based on treatment and patient-related barriers and influences.   Changes in Regulatory Policy Need to Be Tracked -- Regulatory changes are having a widespread impact on how the healthcare industry communicates and shares data. From the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the Sunshine Act, a number of regulations may expand medical coverage for millions, further increasing the need for management of chronic conditions. It will become important to work with partners that understand the regulatory climate and provide solutions that are compliant.

Source: McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical via M2 PressWIRE

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