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McKesson: Seven new trends could affect medication adherence strategies

BY Alaric DeArment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Changes in healthcare consumption, advances in technology and support from pharmacists are among seven new trends that could affect programs designed to improve medication adherence, according to a new study by McKesson.

The company said the trends confirmed what it called the need for comprehensive adherence solutions that include technology and personalized interactions to help physicians, pharmacists and manufacturers address issues that keep patients from taking their medications as prescribed.

"With increased attention on medication adherence, the industry has made progress; however, we must move more quickly toward a more patient-centered approach," McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions VP and general manager Peggy Yelinek said. "When combined with our extensive experience implementing comprehensive adherence programs, our research clearly validates that technology can be used to enable personalized conversations that result in more meaningful patient interactions and increased engagement."

McKesson identified the seven trends as:

  • The healthcare consumer is changing: The healthcare industry’s focus has shifted from acute care to chronic disease management due to the proliferation of digital resources, cultural shifts and an aging and overweight population

  • Pharmacists deliver more adherence support than ever: Pharmacists have a "unique" opportunity to help patients adhere to medication regimens because of their accessibility and the trust placed in them;

  • Physicians are critical to adherence and need help: McKesson called physicians a "critical first step" in maintaining adherence, but many say they don’t have the time for adequate adherence counseling;

  • Advances in technology support adherence: Technologies, such as electronic health records and electronic prescribing improve access to data and provide linkages across healthcare stakeholders, creating new opportunities to influence adherence and increase patient engagement;

  • Payment incentives influence health outcomes: Payment incentives, part of the Affordable Care Act, have been designed to encourage a focus on chronic-care management and reward health outcomes;

  • One-size-fits-all adherence approaches are not effective: Individual adherence solutions, such as predictive modeling, gaming, social media, pharmacy programs and financial incentives can affect adherence in certain situations, but McKesson said implementing comprehensive adherence solutions is the only way to tackle all the challenges preventing medication adherence; and

  • Changes in regulatory policy need to be tracked: Regulatory changes ranging from the Affordable Care Act to the Sunshine Act are changing how the healthcare industry shares data.


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The FDA announced the appointment of Gregory Geba as director of the Office of Generic Drugs, replacing acting director Keith Webber, effective Sunday.

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