PHARMACY

The World Speaks: There is no silver bullet for patient nonadherence

BY Casey Pflieger

When Unifine Pentips Plus launched in the U.S. market, we were one of a few manufacturers leading the dialogue on patient adherence. Through thoughtful design features that addressed injection therapy obstacles, Owen Mumford brought to market a product that made injection therapy easier, safer and more convenient. In doing so, patients were more likely to comply with a healthy injection routine. In 2019, it is gratifying and exciting to see patient adherence take center stage.

There is now a universal acceptance that improving patient adherence is a strategy we should all endeavor to improve upon. Patients who adhere to their treatment regimens live better lives with improved outcomes, while also reducing systemic healthcare costs. In looking strictly at diabetes care, the opportunity is profound. Patients who are compliant with their treatment regimens are less likely to be hospitalized for severe hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic episodes, and the complications from diabetes comorbidities also are diminished.

These days, it seems everyone is jumping on the patient adherence bandwagon, offering up sleek, data-driven solutions guaranteed to drive compliance. While it is true that data can be harnessed to drive compliance, we must be wary of how it is used. Automated messaging alone can create noise that is easily tuned out over time. As our lives are inundated with increasing notifications and messages, human interactions become the most effective means of breaking through the clutter.

Like most things in health care, solving the compliance jigsaw puzzle is complex. Patient adherence demands a multifaceted approach, and the human element remains the most complex part of the compliance equation. People stop or delay taking medication for different reasons. Some may be forgetful and require a gentle reminder, and for others, cost plays a primary driver. Many may not comprehend the gravity of their condition and don’t take adherence seriously — and lack of convenience, transportation or access to products may also represent barriers.

No algorithms or AI currently exist that can address all of these factors on their own. This is why the pharmacist has a pivotal, indispensable role to play. Pharmacists uniquely are equipped with knowledge around disease states and treatments, can provide cost transparency and alternatives, and can guide patients toward products that help address compliance barriers. Data is best used to supplement or enhance one-on-one dialogue, but it isn’t by itself a silver bullet.


Casey Pflieger, director of North American marketing at Owen Mumford.

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