Why Don’t We Just Take Our Medicine?
Research suggests that less than half of all patients take their medicines as prescribed, causing huge implications for national health services worldwide. Medicine non-adherence accounts for over 50% of doctor visits, over 40% of long-term care admissions, and over 40% of hospital readmissions. In total, the annual cost of worldwide medicine non-adherence is over 600 billion Euros per annum – with the figure increasing by 13 percent each year. Getting more patients to take their medication as prescribed is and has been a critical, longstanding concern for care providers seeking to improve healthcare provision and quality.
So what are the main reasons for non-adherence?
Many medicines, especially those used to treat chronic illnesses are made with complex -compounds that help people but, like all medications, have side-effects. These side-effects can be mitigated through changes in treatment plans or additional medications to alleviate these unwanted outcomes. Crucially, the doctor needs to first know if a patient is taking their medications as they are supposed to before he or she can properly assess whether or not it is the drug, or lack thereof, that is causing these results. Once it is clear that a patient is in fact following their therapy guidelines, then a clinician is able to identify the best course of action.
The fear of adverse effects, bad experience or unimproved outcomes can be a factor in a patient’s decision not to take their medication, but it is almost never the case that a patient suffering long-term or chronic illness will fare better without treatment. This is not to say that there aren’t alternative treatment options for some patients who may react badly to certain compounds or regimens, but by monitoring adherence levels and the drug efficacy, we can better understand the risks and issues related to certain drugs for a specific patient demographic and in so doing we are able to deliver better quality of care with much improved outcomes.
When faced with taking multiple medications, patients can often get overwhelmed trying to manage the different timings and courses to take – some may be taken with food and others without etc. Making this process simpler and helping patients follow an effective schedule is key to improving the mistakes made and reducing the negative results of mismanaged dosage.
Forgetting to take medications is bar far the leading cause of drug non-adherence. Most people have busy lives, which means taking their medicines on time, and as prescribed is low on their list of priorities. This is particularly true for patients suffering long-term or chronic illness as most of these illnesses are asymptomatic, which means there are no obvious symptoms, usually until it’s too late. So even if they remember later on, they will not have the full daily dosage as they have fallen outside of the drugs effective dosage window. The consequence of this, if done on a regular basis, is mismanagement of their disease and a spiralling of negative outcomes, often resulting in death.
Not seeing benefits
With few exceptions, medicines used to treat long-term and chronic illness, such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, hypertension etc. are not able to cure the underlying medical condition but are very effective at managing that condition. It is only through compliance with a drug regimen that control over a disease can be achieved. Greater understanding and knowledge by the patient is crucial to giving them confidence in their treatment, helping them gain control of their disease and reaping the long-term benefits. By utilising our technologies, we can identify poor delivery of care by a doctor who fails to educate a patient correctly, which results in poorer outcomes. Through technology and better monitoring, we can improve the lives of millions.
As illustrated, there are many reasons why people do not take their medicines properly from simple forgetfulness to more complex reasons such as side effects and medicine effectiveness; or lack thereof. However, there is hope. Technology advancements have seen innovative companies enter the healthcare industry to develop solutions to improve outcomes. When it comes to medicine adherence, Curaizon, a UK based healthcare technology company, has innovated technologies to tackle the problem of patients not taking their prescribed medications. Curaizon’s solutions tackle all of the aspects mentioned and more, as it sends patients – and their carers – reminders of when to take their medicines as well as alerting doctors and other caregivers of non-adherence and issues to do with the prescribed medicines. Those using Curaizon’s technologies will gain valuable insights into the shortcomings of existing treatments from real-time patient feedback and instances of non-adherence. Having this valuable resource will help them understand any complications that could be linked to a specific drug or form of treatment, which they can relay into the system to develop best practice.
When used properly, Curaizon’s advanced patient data can help national health services use their resources efficiently, cut down on waste and deliver better quality outcomes based on best practice.
The only way to access Curaizon’s invaluable patient data is by participating in its ICO this September by purchasing CuraTokens (CTKN). For more information visit www.curatoken.curaizon.com
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