Improving medication adherence is critical

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The CVS Caremark-sponsored study that illustrates pharmacists and nurses are the most effective healthcare "voice" in promoting medication adherence among patients is important because it marks the first step toward unlocking the potential of the collaborative care model (i.e., pharmacists and nurses), and getting those people who matter to pay attention.

(THE NEWS: Adherence is boosted by face-to-face contact, study finds. For the full story, click here)

The reality is that this message comes at a critical time. As the clock ticks away toward full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, and with Republicans in the new Congress determined to repeal or at least replace the parts of it they don’t like — even if they can’t — there is going to be a greater focus on how all this extra health care is going to get paid for and what America is getting for its money.

As Troyen Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark and author of both reviews, stated, "These findings offer payers, healthcare providers and policy-makers guidance about how to develop programs that improve patient adherence. We know that pharmacists and nurses are among the most trusted healthcare professionals. This study shows that trust translates into effective patient communications."

Improving medication adherence is critical, and fixing it would mean closing a significant financial drain on the U.S. healthcare system. Nonadherence to medications costs the healthcare system up to $290 billion — yes, billion — a year because many of the hospitalizations can be avoided if patients take their medications as prescribed.

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