How can pharma improve patient adherence?

August 30, 2017 Authors: Gintare Greenfeld, Senior Analyst and Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst

This post draws from the recent report “Nonadherence: an ongoing epidemic” from the Manhattan Research ePharma Consumer® study. Contact us to find out if your company is already a client and to talk to an analyst.

 

Nonadherence has enormous costs – to patient health and to pharmas’ bottom lines

Medical nonadherence is a critical problem for pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare system overall – in the United States, 55% of newly diagnosed chronic condition patients who have received a prescription failed to fill an Rx at least once in the past 12 months.

 

This epidemic of non-adherence contributes to:

  • A greater cost burden on healthcare systems through increased hospital readmissions and more    rapid disease progression necessitating pricier treatments;
  • Slimmer margins for pharmas, costing manufacturers, by one estimate, $637 billion per year in lost revenues
  • And most importantly, poorer patient outcomes

 

With payers and providers alike under pressure to deliver higher quality care at lower cost, this is no longer a problem that hospitals, health systems and practices can afford to ignore. 

 

 

The upside for pharma…

In this new era of customer engagement, where brands that offer value, relevancy and support beyond just broad product messages are rewarded, adherence represents an opportunity for pharmas to position themselves as partners to both payers and prescribers. Fifty-one percent of physicians say they are more likely to prescribe a product if its manufacturer offers premium patient support and beyond the pill services. Adherence support can also sway formulary decisions -- 80% of hospital P&T committee members say they are more likely to grant favorable formulary status to drug offering BlueStar (WellDoc’s clinically-validated and FDA-approved diabetes management app) over a similar drug without it. Adherence resources that show a demonstrated improvement in outcomes can be a huge competitive differentiator for brands.

At the same time, advances in technology and data science present pharma with new ways to understand, support, and gather feedback from patients. Where patients once relied solely on printed calendars and pill organizer trays to keep them on track, digital technologies offer more effective and responsive means of keeping people on treatment, from sensors embedded in pill bottles (or the patients themselves!) to reminder texts. Online communities and social intelligence allow brands to gather unprompted insights into the barriers and triggers driving nonadherence. Mobile apps and wearables provide platforms for next-generation adherence solutions today. Voice assistants and machine learning will power more-advanced adherence tools in the near future. 

 

First stop – understanding your patient…

Patients stop taking prescribed medications — or fail to take them as directed, or never fill a prescription in the first place — for a host of reasons that vary by disease state and associated comorbid conditions, among other factors. Getting to the root of why patients fail their treatment regimens and understanding how their conditions and treatments affect their day to day lives is the first step to building adherence solutions to address those issues.

To help pharmas plan successful adherence and patient support strategies -- ones which meet the needs of patients and support the shared goals of providers and payers -- we recently published an analysis for clients, pulling from our recent research into patient, payer and provider behavior to help pharmas understand what tactics they can use to improve adherence. “Nonadherence: an ongoing epidemic: What tactics should pharma use to improve patient adherence?”

 

This research, titled “Nonadherence: an ongoing epidemic,” answers questions including:

  • What are the key roadblocks to adherence?
  • How can pharma brands help to maximize patient adherence to their medicines? What are the four “pillars of support” that brands need to assess for their planning?
  • How important is health literacy in promoting patient adherence? What is the impact of behavioral health coaching?
  • What technology-enabled tools and services improve adherence and patient outcomes?

 In addition to research, our analysts work with clients to provide tailored decision support for their  specific audience, questions and challenges.

 

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our adherence research and talk to an analyst:

 

1) ePharma Consumer® 2016 (Manhattan Research)

2) HealthPrize/Capgemeni 2016 survey: https://adherence564.com/

3) ePharma Physician® 2017 (Manhattan Research)

4) Taking the Pulse® Formulary Decision Makers 2015 (Manhattan Research)

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