“Take two of these; doctor’s orders.” Easy enough? Not according to recent data linking medication nonadherence—or noncompliance—to a host of complications and even preventable deaths. One estimate ties poor medication adherence to as much as $300 billion per year in avoidable costs. The reasons patients struggle to take medications as prescribed are numerous and complex. But a new slate of technologies hold promise in better engaging patients with their medication regimens as part of their overall care.
The new generation of adherence-focused technologies go beyond simple apps, with machine-learning tools and pill bottle sensors that encourage behavior change. One such innovation, a medication-dispending device and platform created by Philips, is under pilot testing at Partners HealthCare.
Though the technologies have the potential to enhance patient adherence—and rein in the high costs and quality consequences associated with chronic disease—their adoption and impact depend on systemic changes in care culture when it comes to medication. And that will require engagement from patients, providers, and payers alike.
"We've never been held accountable for people's adherence, and now we are," says Kamal Jethwani, MD, MPH, Partners Senior Director of Connected Health Innovation. "It's a culture shift."
Read more about adherence-enhancing technologies in Modern Healthcare.