Technology Evolves to Improve Medication Adherence for Specialty Pharmacy Patients

Medication adherence remains a critically important goal in the pharmacy and specialty pharmacy industry. The American College of Preventive Medicine states that each year, non-adherence causes up to 125,000 deaths and creates an economic burden of up to $300 billion.

According to a study by BMC Health Services Research, nearly two-thirds of respondents reported that they failed to adhere to their treatment regimen because they forgot to take their medication. Roughly one-third reported that they had run out of their medication.

These statistics reveal valuable opportunities for increased patient engagement as a means to improving adherence rates. Stakeholders are increasingly finding that technology is a natural and seamless avenue for helping to do so.

Mobile Health Apps and Tools

Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other mobile devices have grown to become staples in lives. For many individuals, these tools are the primary means of gathering information and managing daily life.

If approached strategically, this ubiquity of mobile technology offers a unique and powerful opportunity for healthcare stakeholders to engage with their patients. In fact, Research and Markets predicts that the mobile health industry will be valued at $115 billion by 2025.

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A wealth of mobile apps and tools are available for patients to download to their mobile devices, such as:

  • Medication alerts
  • Dosage and refill reminders
  • Drug information, including interactions
  • Real-time physician consultations
  • Text messaging programs

“Smart” Technology Devices

In addition to technology developed for mobile devices, the specialty pharmacy industry continues to see new technological and engineering developments that impact the tangible channels of medication adherence, including the medications themselves and the tools used for disbursement.

Smart Pill Bottles

Companies like AdhereTech, SMRxT, and DoseCue are revolutionizing the way that patients interact with their medications. These smart bottles have wireless functionality built in – they collect, track, and send adherence data to notify stakeholders of when intervention may be needed. The bottles can be customized to send patients a reminder via “on bottle” alerts like chimes and lights, phone calls, and text messages.

Ingestible Sensors and Smart Pills

Proteus Digital Health has developed a system to track adherence statistics and clinical response. The system includes an ingestible pill, a wearable patch, and an integrated software program. Currently, the system is being used to improve accuracy in clinical trials. Likewise, eTectRx has developed an ingestible chip which can be combined with a medication, a wearable detection device, and integrated software to identify when the medication has been ingested.  Health tech specialists hope that the technology will someday integrate into the daily lives of patients on a larger scale.

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Microneedle pills, also called mPills, may help patients who are prescribed treatment via injection, but may experience anxiety or discomfort from needles or otherwise fail to adhere to a self-injection regimen. These ingestible capsules are coated with extremely small needles. Once swallowed, the pills inject the medication into the patient’s stomach lining and then easily pass through the digestive system.

Specialty Therapy Software Solutions

Technology also weaves adherence management power into the daily operations of specialty pharmacies. Specialty therapy platforms continue to develop and evolve to meet the needs of specialty pharmacy stakeholders. Top solutions take a holistic approach: tracking, organizing, and analyzing multiple streams of information that includes all entities and phases involved in the pharmacy care process.

The most effective software solutions cover diverse facets of care, including:

  • Clinical workflow management
  • Prior authorization
  • Financial assistance information
  • Side effect management
  • Recurring refill re-assessments
  • Adherence risk scoring with interventiontriggers
  • Patient support resources
  • Clinical interventions with providers and patients
  • Therapy discontinuation and documentation surveys
  • Customized patient outcomes reports

If your specialty pharmacy continues to struggle with patient adherence rates, contact us to learn about TherigySTM, our specialty therapy management platform developed to streamline your operations, improve patient adherence and drive positive patient outcomes.