Medication compliance is a hot topic within the healthcare space. The problem is not just that patients are not taking their medication, they are also not following the lifestyle required to improve their health outcomes.  There are direct and indirect ramifications of patient non-compliance that seep into various  facets of everyday life – including the ability of patients, especially those affected by chronic diseases, to perform at their jobs. Studies show 50% of U.S. patients do not take their medicines as prescribed, resulting in over $300 billion annually in direct and indirect costs to the healthcare system and the economy.  Overall employees with chronic conditions who were adherent to their prescribed medications had up to seven fewer days away from work annually (including absenteeism and short term disability days) than those who were not adherent. It is estimated that only 2% of the 347 million people with Diabetes follow the necessary care recommendations set forth by the American Diabetes Association. Asthma adherence rates have been reported as low as 30% and less than 20% of patients take statins as prescribed.   This translates to a direct link between patient compliance and employee productivity. You may ask but don’t patients want to get better? The answer is yes, but patients face all kinds of barriers that influence their health choices.  Whether patients cannot remember, they are asymptomatic, cost, side effects or there is a lack of support or education — these barriers contribute to the overall ability a patient has to take their medications. “Combating the barriers to patient adherence requires a scalable, ROI focussed effective approach, by looking at behaviors and motivations we change at the patient level,” said Amos Adler M.Sc., president of MEMOTEXT Corp.  And this is good news for employers. Here’s why; Workforce compliance initiatives means a healthier workforce with lower overall healthcare costs because patients who adhere to their treatment cost significantly less. The costs savings to payors, health plans and employers are significant as increases in adherence reduce hospitalizations, critical care costs and  productivity (absenteeism/presenteeism) and other indirect costs.  With every increase in adherence, there is a reduction in overall healthcare costs despite an increase in drug expenses. The movement in mHealth (mobile health) is vastly changing the odds in favour of improving medication compliance, positively changing patient beliefs and behaviours. Patient compliance as it relates to mHealth and mobile communications  is predicted to evolve into a $12Billion industry over the next 5 years.   mHealth tools equip people with education, support  and the power to successfully manage their own health outcomes.  What does this mean for employers? It means increasing their workforce’s ability to be productive, lead healthy lives and most importantly be present at work. In a 2009 study examining Employer Medication Compliance Initiatives, by The Benfield Group, they noted that “Medication compliance is among employers top health management objectives.” Though. currently, two thirds of the programs being implemented are ‘relatively’ unsophisticated providing only general educational information, as opposed to targeted and complex interventions and disease management programs for patients with specific conditions.  Based on their findings, the most promising interventions are those that are personalized for individual employees at a higher risk of being non-compliant. “Initiatives that are characteristically more general in their approach are not perceived as being very effective.” Everyone stands to benefit from increased compliance, most of all…the patient and those who pay for their care.
ELISHA ZAVIER, B.A. SR. PROJECT COORDINATOR img39 Prior to joining the MEMOTEXT team, Elisha was involved in various sales, management and business development initiatives both in financial services and consumer goods. With a Marketing Administration Diploma from Seneca College and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, Elisha brings a wealth of project management and customer relationship management experience to the team. From sales and marketing communications management to team leader, Elisha has lead call center implementations and several interactive marketing efforts. Elisha is a professional with a focus on managing in-time, in-scope and on-budget.