"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taking Your Meds

Last week there was an article in Fierce Healthcare entitled, "Med adherence could save $8.3 billion in healthcare costs."  The article was sent to me by a physician friend who is a passionate advocate of getting patients to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.  When you read the article, it is amazing to learn that by diabetic patients simply taking their prescribed medications they would save the $8.3 billion in healthcare costs.  The tough part is getting folks to take their meds.  It was reported this AM on the news that 1 in 3 patients do not take their maintenance medications, in general.  I have been "blessed" with the gout and take medication to prevent an attack every day.  If I don't take my meds faithfully, within a few days I will have an attack.  In that short period of time, the uric acid builds up in my joints, crystalizes and the pain begins until I take another med to stop the attack and the associated pain.    I can't imagine suffering though that pain by not taking my daily dose of Allopurinol.  I recognize that affordability is a major issue for those who don't take their meds on a regular basis.   However, providers, payors, government, pharmacies and drug companies are trying to make drugs affordable, even giving them away to high risk patients who can't afford them in order to keep them out of the hospital.  The non-compliant patient is a whole other story and technology will become a major player related to patient adherence in the near future.  The FDA is already working with implantable microchips that confirm when medications have been ingested.  I am not a big fan of the "nanny state" but government and other payors have a lot at stake to ensure adherence among patients.

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