Posts Tagged ‘pharmacists’

Guest Post: 10 Medication Adherence Facts to Know in 2015

January 22nd, 2015 by Troy Hilsenroth

medication adherence

$105 billion of avoidable U.S. healthcare costs is due to medication non-adherence.

With 50 percent of Americans suffering from at least one chronic condition in their lifetime, medication management affects nearly everyone at some point. Whether an individual takes multiple medications or cares for a family member who is, the importance of taking medications as prescribed is highly undervalued. While missing a pill one day may seem insignificant, the effects of these habits can be highly detrimental and far-reaching, as guest blogger Troy Hilsenroth explains.

Not taking medication as prescribed, or medication non-adherence, can result in costly hospital bills, declines in patient wellness, and medical complications among other outcomes. Due to these very real risks, additional awareness about this serious public health issue is crucial moving into 2015.

Pharmacists already possess the patient care tools necessary to help with this problem. Patients need to access available tools to improve their medication adherence and educate themselves about their meds. The first step in reversing these trends is to promote education around the severity of medication non-adherence.

The following are ten medication adherence statistics to know in 2015:

  • In the United States, avoidable healthcare costs add up to $213 billion, of which $105 billion is due to medication non-adherence, according to the Express Scripts 2013 Drug Trend Report.
  • Non-adherence causes 30-50 percent of treatment failures and 125,000 deaths annually. 1
  • 64 percent of readmissions within 30 days are due to medication issues, according to HIN’s 2010 Benchmarks in Improving Medication Adherence.
  • Medications are not continued as prescribed in about 50 percent of cases, according to a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presentation.
  • Nearly 50 percent of Americans have one or more chronic conditions that require prescription medications, according to the CDC.
  • Medication adherence is higher among patients who see the same healthcare provider each time they have a medical appointment. In this group, the average adherence is 81 percent, according to “Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card,” a recent report from the National Community Pharmacists Association.
  • Non-adherent patients are 17 percent more likely to be hospitalized than adherent patients, with a cost that exceeds that of an adherent patient by $3,575. 2
  • Generic medications have higher rates of adherence than name brand prescriptions, with 77 percent of patients adhering to generics as opposed to 71 percent with the name brand. 3
  • For some classes of medication, up to 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled by the patient, according to the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI).
  • Patients receive 3.4 more refills per prescription in a 12-month period when their refills are synchronized, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Medication non-adherence poses a very real risk for patients and their providers. A collaborative care team including physicians, pharmacists, and the patient is crucial to continuing education on this issue and establishing a medication management strategy to stay healthy and out of the hospital.

About the Author: Troy Hilsenroth has been with Omnicell for over six years, and currently serves as its vice president of the non-acute care division. In this role, he develops and delivers solutions to help organizations develop new and better ways of doing business and cultivates programs that change healthcare dynamics. Throughout his 22-year career in healthcare, his mission has been to deliver higher clinical quality at a lower cost. Prior to working at Omnicell, Troy served as a licensed clinical pharmacist for 14 years in a broad range of pharmacy environments, while also working as a firefighter and paramedic.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


1. Smith D, Compliance Packaging; a patient education tool, American Pharmacy, Vol. NS29, No 2, February 1989.
2. A. Dragomir et al. (May 2010.). Impact of Adherence to Antihypertensive Agents on Clinical Outcomes and Hospitalization Costs. Medical Care, 48 (418-425). doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e3181d567bd
3. O’Riordan, Michael. (2014, September 15). Generics Beat Brand-Name Statins for Patient Adherence and Improving Outcomes. Medscape. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/831707

Healthcare Business Week in Review: Telemedicine; Mail Order Pharmacies; HRAs; Home Healthcare

December 6th, 2013 by Cheryl Miller

Convenience, whether in the form of a telemedical consult, a mail order pharmacy, or even an HRA, is helping to improve patient care and quality.

According to a new Kaiser Permanente study, diabetic patients who received heart medications by mail were less likely to visit the emergency room than those who picked up prescriptions in person.

Among the reasons researchers suggested were that patients with disabilities or limited transportation were better able to take their meds when all they had to do was go to their mailbox.

In the same vein, children in rural areas are provided better care when telemedicine is available.

According to a new study from UC Davis Medical Center, rural physicians face distinct disadvantages when providing critical care for severely ill or injured pediatric patients. Lack of pediatric training, access to EMRs and 24-hour pharmacist coverage contribute to the problem. Telemedicine services with pediatric specialists resulted in far fewer dosage errors, among other things.

Despite the occurrence of face-to-face meetings, many patients’ health status and risks are overlooked because of the infrequent use of health risk assessments (HRAs), according to the AHRQ.

Problematic but treatable health behaviors like anxiety, alcohol use, depression and unhealthy eating are generally not explored in a primary care visit but can be detected with the use of a new evidence-based HRA. Designed for primary care physicians, nurses and other staff, patients provide the data.

A final ruling on home healthcare payments has been issued for 2014, and is designed to better align Medicare payments with home health agencies’ costs providing care, while lowering costs to taxpayers and the 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who receive services, according to the CMS. The final rule reduces the number of home-health quality measures reported by home health agencies (HHAs).

And lastly, don’t forget to take our online survey, Reducing Hospital Readmissions in 2013. While great strides have been made in the reduction of 30-day all-cause hospital readmissions, CMS still docked reimbursement for more than 2,200 hospitals in 2013 for exceeding 30-day readmission rates for heart failure, pneumonia and myocardial infarction. In 2015, CMS penalties will extend to acute COPD and elective hip and knee replacements. Describe how your organization is working to reduce hospital readmissions by taking HIN’s fourth comprehensive Reducing Hospital Readmissions Benchmark Survey. Respond by January 3, 2014 and receive an e-summary of the results once they are compiled.

Infographic: Improving Primary Care by Expanding the Role of Pharmacists

December 17th, 2012 by Melanie Matthews

By expanding the role of pharmacists in primary care, the University of Southern California projects savings of up to $31.7 million dollars over three years.

In an infographic on the intervention, USC, which received a $12 million CMS Healthcare Innovation Award, describes the intervention protocol and the grant timeline.

Improving Primary Care by Expanding the Role of Pharmacists

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Pharmacists Join CDC Team to Fight Rising Blood Pressure

September 12th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

What with the economy, upcoming presidential elections, and several of our news stories this week, its no wonder Americans’ blood pressure is up. But it’s no excuse either, given that nearly one in three American adults has high blood pressure, and more than half don’t have it under control. It’s a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States, leading to nearly 1,000 deaths a day, and costing the United States almost $131 billion annually, CDC officials say.

To counter these alarming statistics, CDC has joined forces with pharmacists and is launching a care team initiative to help patients control their blood pressure. Customers at drugstores around the nation will receive informational materials, including wallet cards to track medication use and educational videos.

More news to raise blood pressure: nearly one third of America’s healthcare spending in 2009 – roughly $750 billion – was wasted on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, and fraud, among other problems, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Such inefficiencies are hindering progress and threatening the nation’s economic stability and global competitiveness, says the IOM. But there are ways to repair the system, as suggested in one report recommendation: mobile technologies and EHRs can help professionals to capture and share health data better. Others are detailed in our story.

And still more news to keep that pressure up: the United States performs worse than France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, according to a Commonwealth Fund–supported study published in Health Affairs. Between 1999 and 2006 to 2007, the overall potentially preventable death rate among men ages 0 to 74 dropped by only 18.5 percent in the United States, while the rate declined by nearly 37 percent in the United Kingdom. For women, the rate fell by 17.5 percent in the United States but by nearly 32 percent in the United Kingdom.

But there is some news to slow Americans’ pulse: results from a multi-year accountable care collaborative program between Aetna and NovaHealth, an IPA, show significant improvements in quality of care and lowered healthcare costs, Aetna reports.

Read all of these stories in their entirety in this week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update.