Healthcare costs have continued to skyrocket in recent years and they’re not getting any better. According to the CMS expenditure projections, national health spending is expected to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026. Most of these costs can be attributed to several economic and demographic factors such as increased service costs as well as increased Medicare enrollment due to an aging population.
Up to $300 billion in US healthcare spending is associated with patient nonadherence every year. These costs are associated with increased doctors’ visits, added medications, and hospitalizations due to worsening disease states. For example, a patient with COPD who doesn’t use their controller inhaler daily may repeatedly find themselves in the emergency room because of an exacerbation. Upon discharge, they would likely be prescribed an additional muscarinic antagonist or inhaled corticosteroid in an attempt to prevent further hospitalizations. It ultimately becomes a vicious, yet preventable, cycle of hassle for doctors and patients alike.
As the state of healthcare is expanding, we are looking for ways to improve patient adherence to effectively drive down costs.
The Impact of Medication Adherence on Reducing Costs
Through medication management and coordinated care, healthcare providers can collaborate with patients to better understand how they are taking their medications. Many patients stop taking their medications without first consulting their physician. They may be experiencing side effects or feel that they are taking too many medications.
These are concerns that can be rectified through the intervention of a physician or pharmacist. By streamlining and improving medication regimens, we can improve the chances that patients take their medications as prescribed.
Providing access to compliance data can also help improve adherence rates. With the convenience of healthcare technology today, providers are now able to more closely monitor a patient’s vitals and medication habits. Through integrated systems such as HealthKOSTM, providers can be readily alerted about patient health issues which can lead to early interventions in care. This could produce a reduction in the estimated 10% of hospitalizations in older adults.
Overall, improving patient adherence can displace the growing costs of healthcare in the US. The ways in which this can be achieved are abundant. As long as both patients and providers are willing, a collaborative team effort could truly be the driving force in optimizing the quality of healthcare and the avoidable high costs associated with it.
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