Patient Medication Adherence: The Next Act

Valerie Fleishman

Posted 12/19/11 on The Health Affairs Blog

©2011 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc. 

Valerie FleishmanIf we’re truly serious about reining in health care costs and improving patient outcomes at the same time, then improving medication adherence is absolutely key. And if we’re serious about improving medication adherence, then the time to strike is now.

That’s because there are major opportunities in health reform and major trends in the health care marketplace that together offer a golden opportunity to confront poor adherence once and for all.

The staggering costs of non-adherence are well documented by now: four out of every five patients leave a provider’s office with a prescription in hand, but as many as half of all patients do not take their pills as prescribed. This adds up to an estimated $290 billion a year in unnecessary emergency room visits, avoidable hospitalizations and additional trips to the doctor’s office, not to mention the resulting illnesses and deaths that could otherwise be prevented.

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