Patients have all kinds of barriers that can lead to medication errors, but these technologies can help keep them on track.
Nonadherence is one of the most prevalent and expensive diseases out there, costing $300 billion in avoidable healthcare spending every year in the United States alone.
“Patients do better when they are adherent; better health, better outcomes, better quality of life,” says Heather Ferrarese, PharmD, owner of Bartles Pharmacy in Oxford, NY. “Pharmacists know how to talk with patients to understand their barriers to adherence and work through them … The biggest piece for the pharmacy is just identifying who to engage. Once we know who, it’s easy to start the conversation.”
A recent Research and Markets report came up with more than 60 different products said to boost adherence. Here are five of them.
Toward a Better Bottle
Smart Vial AdhereTech is one of several companies reimagining the amber pill vial using sensors and communication chips to track adherence. The bottle can flash, play a tune, or send electronic alerts if the patient misses a dose or takes it incorrectly. Data are collected 24/7 by AdhereTech and passed to the pharmacy to intervene.
In 2017, the FDA approved the first medication Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical).
The sensor, developed by Proteus Digital Health, talks with a patch on the torso that sends data to a mobile phone app. The patch also tracks steps, heart rate, respiration, and sleep activity that provides an accurate pattern of adherence.
The system has been tested with medications for hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, tuberculosis, bipolar affective disorder, and schizophrenia.
Image courtesy of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) rolled out RespiPoints to reward patients who use three of its inhaled products for their healthy behaviors. Points can be redeemed for gift cards at Amazon and Starbucks in return for daily medication check-ins, taking quizzes and surveys, and other activities designed to improve and track adherence.
Patients control adherence, which is why HeroHealth created a countertop pill dispenser, Hero. Hero can dispense up to 10 different medications at the proper time of day at the push of a button.
The locked, password-protected device send an electronic or phone alert for any missed doses.
“I don’t want to know if my mom took her meds, I want to know if she missed them,” says company president Joey Neal.
Pharmacy chains and wholesalers are rolling out proprietary systems to help pharmacists identify patients who are not adherent and intervene. Ferrarese uses McKesson’s Adherence Performance Solution (APS). APS provides daily reports identifying patients who are not adherent based on claims data.
AmerisourceBergen has its community pharmacy adherence toolbox at the Patient Engagement Center and Pharmacy Now. Tools track up-to-the-day performance on Star Ratings medication use measures and identify patients who are underperforming and negatively impacting pharmacy scores.
Cardinal Health uses OutcomesMTM, which offers a variety of solutions targeting Part D plans, employers, payers, PBMs, patients and pharmacies.