Chronic conditions impact 6 in 10 Americans, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of those patients are prescribed medication to treat their condition; however, medication non-adherence in patients with chronic conditions remains a significant healthcare challenge.
The consequences of non-adherence can be costly in more ways than one. Non-adherence to chronic disease medications not only costs around $290 billion each year in avoidable healthcare spending, but also leads to increased hospitalizations, worsening health conditions, and even mortality.
Certain conditions have unique barriers that make them more prone to non-adherence. What’s more, the conditions with the lowest adherence rates tend to be those with the greatest consequences when patients don’t properly follow drug regimens. In this article, we discuss the conditions with the biggest adherence challenges:
5 Health Conditions with the Lowest Medication Adherence Rates
- Mental Health
Mental health conditions are some of the most difficult to manage—and it shows in adherence rates. A 2020 study showed that adherence rates to psychotropic medications were 56 percent for schizophrenia, 50 percent for major depressive disorder, and 44 percent for bipolar disorder.
Non-adherence to mental health medications is associated with poor outcomes, such as psychiatric hospitalization, substance abuse relapse, negative social outcomes (e.g., arrest, job loss), and an increased risk of suicide.
Medication adherence is critical to the success of hypertension management for patients with high blood pressure. However, Million Hearts reports that only 51 percent of Americans treated for hypertension follow the long-term medication therapies prescribed to them. In addition to uncontrolled hypertension, poor adherence is linked to adverse cardiovascular events, including coronary syndromes, stroke and transient ischemic attack, chronic heart failure, and mortality.
Research by the Behavioral Diabetes Institute indicates that poor medication adherence is very common among patients with diabetes. In fact, nearly 50 percent of patients with diabetes struggle (and ultimately fail) to reach their glycemic goals. Diabetes medication non-adherence can have significant negative consequences, ranging from inadequate glycemic control to increased emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and mortalities.
Asthma is another condition with poor adherence rates. Barriers to asthma medication adherence range from not knowing how to use an inhaler and fearing insulin injections to struggling with complex dosing regimens and denying one’s condition. As such, preventing non-adherence in asthma patients is difficult for many healthcare organizations.
Adherence is an unmet challenge for oral anticancer medications (OAMs). There are a myriad of reasons for non-adherence to cancer medications, from rising out-of-pocket drug costs to limited access. Whatever the reason, deviation from 100% adherence is serious and can result in significant treatment failures for patients with various cancers.
Improving Medication Adherence Interventions with Smart Data
Despite the significant challenges posed by non-adherence to medications for chronic conditions, there are still steps that pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, payers, and prescribers alike can take to drive improvements.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged in recent years as a highly effective tool for improving patient support programs and overcoming barriers to adherence. How? The answer lies in smart data, predictive analytics, and personalization.
Using an AI engine like AllazoHealth’s helps healthcare organizations identify the right patients—who are both high risk and most likely to be influenced—and the optimal intervention channel, messaging, timing, and frequency for each of them.
Better engagement, better adherence, and better outcomes.
About the Author
Clifford has been driving the use of AI in patient engagement and outcome optimization for nearly a decade. Upon founding AllazoHealth, Clifford built an industry-leading predictive analytics engine which has won multiple awards and whose impact has been validated through multiple peer reviewed studies. Clifford led AllazoHealth through its formative years and has transitioned to the CTO role as AllazoHealth has grown. Before founding AllazoHealth, Clifford developed CVS Health’s award-winning Pharmacy Advisor medication adherence program in collaboration with AllazoHealth’s current CEO William Grambley, which earned the “2011 Rx Benefit Innovation Award” from the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute and a “Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Protection and Empowerment Award” from URAC. Earlier in his career, Clifford led the development of analytics software for Boston Consulting Group’s health care practice. Clifford graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s dual-degree Management & Technology program where he studied management, engineering and mathematics. He entered the Wharton Health Care Management MBA program, but left to start AllazoHealth.