As leaders across business, policy and academia gathered at the recent World Health Care Congress (WHCC) to discuss ways to improve the quality and cost of healthcare, experts in treatment adherence identified a common theme: a patient-centric adherence strategy will be critical to achieving success.
"Healthcare reform is placing greater pressure for cost-efficiencies in the delivery of patient care and, as such, healthcare companies need to integrate treatment adherence strategies at the center of their programs," said Lina Eliasson , Ph.D., lead clinical strategist with Atlantis Healthcare, a sponsor of WHCC. "Many exciting programs presented by industry leaders assumed a high degree of patient adherence – but in reality, treatment nonadherence is an enormous problem that can undermine the successful outcomes of any plan."
A report from the New England Healthcare Institute estimates that nonadherence to medication contributes $290 billion annually in unnecessary costs – about 13% of the total US healthcare expenditure. The report also notes that adherence rates are lower among patients with chronic conditions (i.e., diabetes, heart disease) than among those with acute conditions.
The most popular topics during the three-day WHCC conference centered on improving cost, quality and access to patient care:
- Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
- Role of integrated care and its effect on bundled care packages
- Tele-health and implications for providers and payors
- Employee wellness/assistance programs
While all talks referenced adherence, the topic of medication adherence was not featured as a headline item on the agenda, reinforcing the need for greater visibility.
Dr. Eliasson believes treatment adherence will emerge as an essential component in delivering positive outcomes across these areas and beyond. "An effective strategy that motivates patients to follow prescribed treatment or a recommended health plan will decrease medication waste and overall healthcare cost, lower readmissions, and improve patient outcomes."