Worldwide, medical adherence or patients prematurely stopping their medications, is a major obstacle to the effective delivery of health care. David Parpart and Sunit Gala talked about the complexity of the problem, the enormous cost to the healthcare of non-compliance and the technology-based solutions they are offering (www.impactmeds.com) to improve adherence at a www.bio2devicegroup.org event.
To give a sense of the enormity of the problem, Parpart shared a typical scenario where out of 100% prescriptions, only 50-70% go to the pharmacy, and out of that only 48-66% come out of pharmacy, out which only 25-30% of the medications are taken as prescribed and finally a miniscule 15-20% are refilled as prescribed by the physician. Among new prescriptions for medicines used to treat chronic conditions associated with increased cardiovascular risk, such as hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, according to some estimates, one-third of all new prescriptions go unfilled. About 350 daily deaths in the US are attributed to lack of medical adherence, said Parpart.
Non-adherence to prescribed medications not only costs huge amount of lost revenue to the pharmaceutical companies and lost sales to the drug stores, but also it also burdens hospitals with readmissions and burdens the payers, in addition to the impact on patients. On account of non adherence, many patients suffer from bad health, and in many cases, particularly those suffering from chronic diseases, die early. Chronic diseases account for 70% of all deaths and are the leading cause of mortality in the United States. Patients who don’t take their medications as prescribed cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $290 billion. Non-compliance costs pharmaceutical companies $300 billion in lost revenues. Added cost to the society is $100 billion in preventable hospital visits and $350 billion in productivity losses. There is a huge opportunity here to reduce costs and improve outcomes. About 1 million unnecessary deaths can be prevented just within the United States this decade, with improved medical adherence, said Parpart.
So what are major barriers to medical adherence? Some of the major barriers include the complexity of medication regimens, especially in case of chronic diseases when the patient is often taking 9 to 12 medications multiple times per day; the occurrence of side effects, which are sometimes unknown to the patients; the cost of prescription medications; and poor communication and lack of trust between the patient and their health care provider. Just providing a planned opportunity for the patient to interact with the pharmacist regarding side effects and the necessity of sticking with the regimen greatly improves compliance according to numerous well-documented studies conducted by organizations such as the American Pharmacists Association.
Parpart and Gala shared the Impact Meds solution to this enormous challenge. They leverage technology with a cloud-based software platform, RFID, and offer an array of solutions that can be tailored and customized, starting with an opportunity for patients and pharmacists to register on their website with easy access for patients to get their questions answered and get pharmacist led counseling. Their solution is a combination of availability of medical information, easy access points for patient-pharmacist interaction, tools for caregivers, medical tracking solutions, tracking biometrics and purchase refills, and scaling it to have maximum impact in terms of lowered medical costs to society and improved health for patients. An important aspect of the solution is how it incentivizes pharmacists, physicians and patients through a combination of respect, regard and reward. Impact Meds is a recipient of 2012 Sanofi US Innovation Challenge Award, as well The Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Developer Challenge. The presentation was followed by Q&A from an enthusiastic audience, with the event running over-time.