December 1st, 2016
Did you know there’s a way to save $300 billion in unnecessary medical costs in the United States each year? Even more amazing is the fact that this solution could save tens of thousands of lives annually, including yours. Medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people in the United States every year.
A World Health Organization (WHO) study estimates that only 50% of patients suffering from chronic diseases in developed countries follow treatment recommendations. In that same study, the figures drop to 28% medication compliance for preventative therapies. Low adherence to medication and treatment recommendations not only affect patient health, but affects society as a whole. In particular, low rates of adherence to preventative therapies for asthma, diabetes, and hypertension are thought to contribute substantially to the human and financial burden of those conditions.
Medications can only be helpful if the patient remembers to take them. Many have difficulty remembering medications especially if they have a complicated medication regimen, or if their condition can cause drowsiness or confusion. They can forget to take a pill, or worse, take a medicine that they have already taken. According to the CDC more than 80% of drug overdoses in the US are accidental.
Fortunately medication reminder systems are available to help avoid such problems. These systems fall into the following categories:
- Passive organizers where pills are placed in some sort of container, usually labeled by day, and often even sorted by time of day (e.g., morning, noon, night).
- Active organizers are similar to passive organizers but they include a reminder mechanism, such as a ringing bell or buzzer. The reminder mechanism may be part of the organizer or it may be a separate device such as a watch that vibrates when a medication is to be taken.
- Medication reminders may also be a service offered by a PERS provider. The monitoring center can contact the patient by a preselected communications channel, and remind the patient of the dosage to be taken and even a description of what the medication looks like.
Here are some tips and tricks to help stay compliant with your medications:
- Take it along with other daily events, like brushing your teeth or with your morning coffee. For example, put your medication bottle next to your favorite coffee cup or coffee pot.
- Talk to your pharmacist about simplifying your medication process through automatic refill or medication synchronization.
- Discuss any negative side effects with your pharmacist. There may be a substitute available that does not affect you the same way.
- Most importantly, understand your medication. Know what it is for, and how and when you should be taking it.
Other Factors Contributing to a Lack of Medication Adherence
If you, a friend or family member are concerned or need Help with Medication Adherence call Help Services today at 866-672-4852 and see how we can assist you!