myHealthbox adds support for medicine compliance monitoring

myHealthbox launches a new fully-digital medication adherence monitoring solution.

In medicine, compliance (also adherence or therapeutic adherence) describes the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice.

When we refer specifically to Medication Adherence we can say that this occurs when a patient takes their medications according to the prescribed dosage, time, frequency, and direction.  A breakdown in any one of these elements (missing doses, misinterpreting directions for use, or abandoning therapy altogether) is called non-compliance and has the potential to result in unanticipated side effects and complications including re-hospitalization.

Studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that:

  • Half of all patients do not take their medications as prescribed (with varying degrees of non-compliance)
  • More than 1 in 5 new prescriptions go unfilled
  • Adherence is lowest among patients with chronic illnesses (but patients with chronic illnesses are also the easiest to monitor as they make repeated visits to the doctor or pharmacy where compliance can be verified and discussed).

Both the patient and the health-care provider affect compliance, and a positive physician-patient relationship is the most important factor in improving compliance.

When a direct patient-care provider relationship is missing (like for OTC medications for example) clear instructions covering how to use the medicine and complete information about the risks of non compliance are the main factors that can affect compliance either in a positive or negative way.

Medication non-adherence has long been a major issue for health and healthcare costs. According to one study, “Patient non-adherence to prescribed medications is associated with poor therapeutic outcomes, progression of disease, and an estimated burden of billions per year in avoidable direct health care costs.”

A substantial and growing body of evidence supports the, intuitive, notion that patients who adhere to their medication regimen have better health outcomes and lower total healthcare spending. For example, one study from 2011 showed that average benefit-cost ratios associated with patient adherence ranged from 3.1:1 to 10.1:1 for the chronic health conditions measured, with beneficial effects of adherence more pronounced (3.8:1 to 13.5:1) in older patients across most conditions studied.

Despite this mounting evidence, overall average drug adherence in the United States is poor, especially with therapies used to treat chronic and costly medical conditions—the conditions that plan sponsors are particularly concerned about. Evidence supporting overall dismal adherence abounds. For example, one study found that only 51 percent of patients treated for high blood pressure were adherent to their prescribed treatment.

Hospitalizations, re-hospitalizations and nursing-home admissions are recognized as direct costs of medication non-adherence in the elderly. However medication non-adherence in the elderly may also result in disease progression. It is obviously very difficult to monitor and estimate the costs of non-compliance for all OTC medications or prescription drugs that do not require mid- or end-of therapy checks by the care provider (in most cases a doctor or a pharmacists).

Among the main reasons for poor medication compliance are: avoidance of troublesome side effects, poor understanding of the medication, forgetfulness, cognitive decline, intentional under-dosage, economic limitations. It needs to be noted that these are not dependent on the type of medicine be it expensive medications for chronic diseases or over the counter drugs.

New progress in personalized medicine and digital health has exciting potential to significantly reduce costs and improve the health for those with chronic medical conditions like asthma, depression, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. While some obstacles for medication adherence may be difficult to overcome, like the high cost of many medications, others may be surmounted through technology and new partnerships.

These digital solutions have overlooked the issue of non-compliance when related to OTC and low-cost prescription medications as these solutions tend to be fairly expensive and thus applicable only to cases where either the drug is already very expensive or the costs of non-compliance is very high and can be in some way estimated.

The fact is that medication adherence is a complex public health challenge, and while better adherence can improve health outcomes and lower overall health care costs, for both patients and payers, evidence of a working solution, either digital or not, has yet to be provided.

The top digital solutions to improving medication compliance

There are a number of approaches to trying to solve this problem, some of these are:
– Gamification (Mango Health app.) and Play-it Health
Proteus Digital Health’s ingestible sensor
Pill box reminders and digital pillbox solutions
In-pharmacy monitoring services.

Under a typical medication adherence monitoring program (whether carried out at he point of sale/pharmacy or at the care provider or remotely), patients and/or providers are alerted to probable instances of non-adherence and encouraged to use the drug therapy as prescribed.

The top questions to ask a medication compliance monitoring solution

Despite recognition of a valuable problem affecting both personal health and companies budgets the big questions remains:

  • Can Digital Health Solutions really improve Medication Adherence?
  • Can they be low cost? Or better are they cost effective in any scenario?
  • Can they be easily applied to any medication?
  • Can they cover the educational part besides any scheduling and monitoring functionalities ?

The myHealthbox solution

While many companies and solutions are looking at medication adherence for chronic diseases and for patients with complex and multi-medications schedules most fail to understand that helping patients understand the specific product and monitoring compliance must be part of the same solution. A cost-effective solution must applicable in any cost and market scenario.

For example few talk about medication adherence when looking at antibiotic therapies but in fact poor adherence for these drugs is one of the major causes of an increasing poor response to antibiotics in young populations, antibiotics abuse, poor eradication of bacterial infections at the end of a therapy and eventually increasing indirect health costs.

To better address these needs myHealthbox is now offering an easy and affordable solution to monitor compliance that integrates its eLeaflet product with an easy-to-use scan and monitor digital service that can be easily integrated into any product physical packaging.

This is what make the compliance monitoring solution by myHealthbox unique :

  • it integrates seamlessly into the secure myHealthbox platform used by millions of people worldwide
  • it does not require a dedicated mobile app.
  • it does not require additional, costly hardware
  • it integrates easily into any physical packaging with minimal costs.

To know more about the myHealthbox platform and our non-compliance monitoring solution please contact sales@myhealthbox.eu

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