Innovative Solutions Prompt Medication Adherence

Pharmacy Times
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Medication adherence is anongoing problem in the healthcare industry. For patients,nonadherence to their medicationscould have deadly consequences. TheUS health care industry estimates $100billion is the annual price tag for nonadherence.Research has also indicatedthat traditional intervention programshave failed to maintain healthy adherencerates. PAR3 Communications Inchas developed outreach solutions tohelp retail pharmacies, pharmaceuticalmanufacturers, and health system administratorsimprove medication adherencethrough personalized patient interactions.

Recently, PAR3 and Vitality Inc, a developerof device-enabled services designedto motivate medication adherence,launched an initiative. Vitality has developedGlowCaps, which replace standardpill-bottle caps and use low-cost wirelesstechnology to continuously monitor patients' dosing behavior. Integrated intoVitality's proprietary network,the GlowCapssimply glow when it is time to dose andbecome more insistent if doses aremissed. The technology works through atimer and transmitter in the cap thatsends a signal to a night-light device inthe home that also glows. The night-lightdevice further sends a signal to a modemattached to the patient's telephone line,which transmits a signal to the vendor. Iffurther intervention is needed, interactivevoice or text notifications are delivered topatients and caregivers using PAR3'scommunication solutions.

"Adherence is a major problem acrossall demographics. It's such a widespreadproblem," said Joshua Wachman, presidentof Vitality. The company wanted towork with a partner that could handlethe back-end communication, and PAR3fit the profile. "It's a natural fit becausethey are alreadyin the marketwith pharmacy.It's a nice synergybetween bothcompanies," heexplained.

Michael Ross,MD, vice presidentof healthcare for PAR3,said "We areworking withVitality on a visionary approach to patientintervention that combines leading technologiesto better address adherence byunderstanding patient behavior. By addressingdosing behavior in real time,rather than weeks after a compliancelapse, we can improve patient health,while reducing the rising costs associatedwith nonadherence."

Together, the 2 companies will monitorhow patients are taking their prescribedmedications and deliver personalizedpatient communications that includemotivational, instructive, and diagnosticmessages. Vitality is conducting a pilotprogram with GlowCaps at MeridianHealth System in New Jersey, which isscheduled to begin by the end of theyear. PAR3 and Vitality's will launch theirintegrated offering in early 2007.

Patient nonadherence is a scenario alltoo familiar to Dr. Ross. He said, if you followpatients taking long-term medicationsfor 6 months, "you'll see thepatients become nonadherent. It's reallya precipitous decline in the first 3months." Dr. Ross emphasized the key topatient compliance is ongoing, open dialoguewith patients.

In May 2005, PAR3 deployed its PrescriptionFulfillment Suite with DuaneReade. The system automatically contactspatients, initiates a dialogue, andpromotes medication compliance. Thetechnology forms a 2-way communicationconduit between the pharmacy andits patients. The proactive notificationsmaximize prescription compliance byidentifying and triaging patients at greatestrisk for nonadherence and alertingpatients about available refills and last-fillscenarios.

Dr. Ross explained that patients interactwith the message by using their telephonekeypad or speaking a response.The questions and options can be customizedfor each pharmacy setting.Patient summaries are sent to a group ofpharmacists who make outreach callsthe following day. PAR3 works with 68health care customers, allowing them totailor the system to their specific needs.

"It's not enough for a pharmacy to getthe prescription filled. The pharmacy hasto get it out the door," said Dr. Ross. Theone-on-one contact "elevates the dialoguebetween the patient and provider,"he added.

Duane Reade, which automaticallyenrolls patients in the program unlessthey opt out, has seen positive resultswith the PAR3 platform. Of the patientsreceiving an automated call, twice asmany were compliant with their medicationrefills, compared with those who didnot receive a call.

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