Teva Canada launches generic PrCelebrex
Anda names Camber Pharmaceuticals 2014 ‘Supplier of the Year’
Photo: Left to Right — Al Paonessa III, President, Anda; Clayton Smith, National Account Manager, Camber Pharmaceuticals; Anthony Mihelich, R.Ph., VP Purchasing , Anda
mHealth apps foster drug adherence
mHealth — the use of mobile technology devices and smartphones for healthcare purposes — is transforming health care as more Americans adopt mobile devices. Smartphone apps are an innovative way to improve adherence and patient behavior because they are constantly accessible, engage and educate patients, and provide a repository for patient-and medication-specific information.
(Click here to view the full Category Review.)
Consider these facts:¹
- 247 million Americans have downloaded a health app.
- 95 million Americans are using mobile phones as health tools.
- Mobile health, a $1.3 billion industry, is expected to reach $20 billion by 2018.
- 42% of U.S. hospitals are using digital health technology to treat patients.
- Remote patient monitoring using mobile will save the United States $36 billion in healthcare costs by 2018.
Medication-adherence apps can potentially store all of the user’s medical information and provide a more streamlined way to keep patients informed about their disease and care. What’s more, adherence apps can be downloaded for free and can benefit anyone taking prescription medications.
Given that improved medication adherence can greatly reduce total healthcare use and costs as a result of reductions in hospitalization and emergency department use, mHealth has emerged as one of the most significant healthcare tools for the new reform era.²
The Future is mobile
Healthcare apps offer patients easy access to essential pharmacy benefit-related information, including:
- Pharmacy and medical benefit summaries and claims history;
- Drug formularies and drug prior authorization status;
- Drug prices of nearby pharmacies and expected out-of-pocket costs with generic and therapeutic alternatives; and
- Reminders and alerts for prescription drug compliance.
Currently, health-related apps are used primarily for information retrieval, with some mobile devices providing more one-on-one interaction. For example, RxManager, which is offered by Physician’s Plus, provides personal drug utilization information for each patient, including specific money-saving suggestions for better pharmacy benefit use. The app also offers patients a number of features, including:
- Records immunizations and health screenings, and those recommended based on the individual’s profile;
- Tracks health and wellness, including weight, HgA1c, headache log, blood pressure, cholesterol and more (the date and time selector supports multiple-tracker measurements per day); and
- Creates list of questions to ask the doctor. The most effective Web-based platforms:
- Gather, integrate and access drug claim histories and formulary data;
- Deliver personal notifications to patients regarding drugs that require prior authorization;
- Contain personalized messaging to increase the effectiveness of consumer engagement communications; and
- Include reporting applications that measure changes in pharmacy utilization and prescription drug adherence for chronically ill patient populations.
Ultimately, the widespread use of mHealth will save time and money across the healthcare delivery system, simplify pharmacy understanding and utilization, and enhance the effectiveness of medication therapy management.
More providers embracing mHealth technology
Apps are designed to support patient care and enable clinicians, pharmacists and hospital staff to encourage adherence to medications for chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and asthma. This enables hospitals to cut costs and work collaboratively with individuals who are at risk for adverse drug events that lead to hospital readmissions.
For example, Geisinger Health Plan, which developed its Geisinger Monitoring Program that uses remote monitoring technologies to increase interactions between caregivers and patients upon discharge, experienced a 44% reduction in hospital readmissions.³
With access to their medical and pharmacy claim data, patients are able to make better, more well-informed choices that can increase prescription drug adherence, reduce costs associated with emergency care, and improve the overall quality and satisfaction with health care. Apps also can serve as decision-support tools for healthcare providers, allowing them to quickly suggest additional prescription drug purchasing channels, such as mail order and retail discount options available through network pharmacies.
Not all mHealth solutions are created equally. Therefore, look for one that offers robust and flexible mobile technology apps that enable patients to easily interact with healthcare providers and pharmacy benefit managers. The mobile app suite should offer a completely configurable approach to placing mobile decision-support tools in the hands of patients, including medication history and drug lookup, drug savings calculations and plan benefit options, personalized messages, bio-metric trackers and physician office visit preparation applications.
Robert Oscar, R.Ph., is president and CEO of RxEOB, which develops and configures private-label software applications for health plans and PBMs.
- Fay, Terry; This Infographic Shows the Power of Wireless Medical Innovation, Senior Lifestyle; February 2014; http://www.seniorlifestyle.com/infographic-shows-power-wire-less-medical-innovation/; accessed September 29, 2014.
- Oscar, Robert; Smarter Pharmacy Benefits: How Mobile Technology Communications Improve Pharmacy Utilization and Cut Costs; Managed Care Outlook; April 15, 2013; https://www.rxeob.com/secure/pdf/MCO_Smarter_Pharmacy041513.pdf; accessed July 22, 2014.
- Anderson, Chris; Remote monitoring helps Geisinger cut readmissions; Healthcare IT News; February 29, 2012; http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/remote-monitoring-helps-geisinger-cut-readmissions; accessed July 22, 2014.