What is Medication Non-adherence? Health and Financial Risks

Medication non-adherence. It’s a big problem. People are not taking the right pill at the right time. The health and financial risks associated with medication non-adherence impacts individuals, families and caregivers. Today, millions of people depend on others for their medications and, for those who manage multiple medications, it can be complicated and confusing. For many people, loved ones can’t always be there to keep track.

The Financial and Health Risks

Nearly 37% of seniors take 5 or more medications and one out of every ten seniors hospitalized are the result of the consumption of ill-timed, mistaken, or missed medication. The cost of medication non-adherence exceeds $300B and more than 125,000* deaths annually in the United States. That’s a high price to pay for both  individuals and the healthcare system more broadly.

In addition to all of this information, it’s important to call attention to the cost of non-adherence at a more personal level, as oftentimes the expense of not taking medications shows up indirectly. The National Council Medical Director Institute published a report in September, 2018 stating that “medication non-adherence accounts for 30-50 percent of treatment failures and 10-25 percent of all hospital and nursing home admissions.” A host of other expenses from the ambulance to the Emergency Room are triggered by non-adherence. These unplanned expenses can be devastating for individuals living on a fixed income, and put additional financial pressure on Medicare and other public programs.  

As it relates to better health, the cost of ill-planned or timed drug interactions means risking outcomes that could be debilitating to the patient in more ways than one. For many chronic conditions, improved health outcomes are difficult without proper adherence. A Network for Excellent in Health Innovation (NEHI) study showed that non-adherence could be tied back to an increased risk of hospitalization, while also providing evidence that mortality rate for heart disease and diabetes was 12.1 percent for non-adherence patients compared to 6.7 for adherent patients.** This is just one example of the implications of non-adherence reported in a specific population.

Reducing the Risks

So what can we do to reduce these risks? Several options are: increase access to or engaging the services of a paid caregiver, add more frequent communication with your provider to monitor your adherence activity, or find a technology-enabled medication assistance solution that your loved one can manage on their own. Since most people are reluctant to admit their shortcomings in taking their meds, it’s often unclear when non-adherence has become a liability.  

Trust in Ōmcare

That’s why Ōmcare was created: to address medication non-adherence and offer remote care solutions through simple, face-to-face interactions and monitored remote pill dispensing that  reduces the risk to financial and personal health outcomes. With Ōmcare you have remote, visual confirmation of adherence and a complete medication history that gives caregivers peace of mind, and provides better information for physicians and nurses to treat and diagnose.  

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Sources:

*https://www.nacds.org/news/the-cost-of-medication-non-adherence/

**Network for Excellence in Health Innovation. (2016, September). Better Uses of Medicines for Diabetes Patients. Retrieved from https://www.nehi.net/writable/publication_files/file/better_use_of_medicine_for_patients_wieth_diabetes_nehi_9.8.2016.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3934668/

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