The Medication Adherence Movement

Directions in Pharmacy, August 2014, Volume 1, Issue 5

This issue of Directions in Pharmacy explores the ways in which pharmacists and other health care professionals are turning adherence into a movement.

The term adherence has an interesting history, and it is on the top of everyone’s mind. Called noncompliance in the past, the use of this particular word seems to lay the blame of medication misuse and non-use at the feet of the patients. As our editor-in-chief suggests in this issue, noncompliance has been a problem looking for an owner.

Today, we know that patients taking their medications correctly—or not taking them at all—is still a major problem and contributes to the overall rising costs of health care. Prevention, adherence, and patient buy-in for their own health are all necessary components for successful adherence.

This issue of Directions in Pharmacy explores the cutting-edge ways pharmacists and other health care professionals are stepping up and turning adherence into a movement. We present a compelling article on an innovative pilot program written by Jon Easter, BSPharm, RPh, senior director of delivery and payment reform at GlaxoSmithKline, which discusses what can be done and what is being done. At GSK, he has championed the company’s involvement in North Carolina’s “First in Health,” one of the nation’s leading patient-centered medical home projects, described in this issue.

As Jon says, “Pretty soon, pilots will be evolving into mainstream practice. That is transformation. And the best part—it’s the patient, your family and mine, who will benefit the most. If you haven’t already, it’s time to jump in—the water is warm.”

Other leaders in pharmacy share their progressive insights into adherence, and they offer a wealth of perspectives. From technology to quality measures to an accountable care perspective “from the trenches,” you’ll find this issue great reading.

We also invited James Fries, MD, a pioneer in preventive health and wellness, to be the keynote speaker at our 2014 Next-Generation PharmacistTM Awards gala this month in Boston and to contribute to this issue. Dr. Fries is a professor of medicine, immunology, and rheumatology at Stanford University School of Medicine, and is a nationally known and respected expert on long-term patient outcomes. He has authored more than 300 articles, numerous book chapters, and 11 books, including Take Care of Yourself and Living Well.

Dr. Fries is perhaps best known for his “compression of morbidity” hypothesis, which holds that the burden of lifetime illness may be compressed into a shorter period before the time of death, if the age at the onset of the first chronic illness can be postponed. His article, “Living Well: The Science of Postponing Aging” (beginning on page 6) introduces his theory and how best to achieve it—and he suggests ways pharmacists can contribute to the delay of aging in the patients they touch.

“The pharmacist is ideally placed to effectively address behavior and lifestyle issues that can contribute directly to improved health outcomes,” says Fries.

We couldn’t agree more.

Thank you for reading!

Mike Hennessy

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer