Healthcare News & Insights

How your hospital can improve medication adherence

Getting patients to follow instructions for their medication after they leave your hospital is often more difficult than you’d like it to be. And when patients aren’t taking their medications at the right times or in the right dosages, the likelihood of them being readmitted is higher, which causes problems for your facility. 

But how do you get patients to take their medications when they’re no longer at your hospital and they’re not being monitored?

Mount Sinai Health System in New York has developed a potential solution to the issue: Giving high-risk patients financial incentives to take their medications.

Adherence incentives

Partnering with healthcare startup Wellth, the health system enrolled 12 patients in a pilot program where they can earn $50 for one month of adherence, reported Healthcare IT News.

Using an app, patients snap a photo of their pills in their hands at the time they’re supposed to take their medication to report adherence. They earn a few dollars for each day they do so – and lose money when they don’t.

The program has seen success with previously non-compliant patients by using Wellth’s economic research to develop creative strategies for encouraging patients to take their medications.

“People have money deducted rather than added to their balance because they found that loss avoidance is a stronger incentivizer than rewards gains,” said Jill Carroll, an IT project manager at Mount Sinai.

In addition, the app is meant to be as user-friendly as possible to encourage patients who may not be tech savvy to use it.

Other solutions

Partnering with a program like Wellth is one way to boost medication adherence, but there are other tactics to increase those rates.

Many hospitals already use texting to remind patients about appointments, so adding medication refills and reminders to that system is a simple way to improve adherence.

Since cost is a major deterrent for many people when it comes to picking up prescriptions and consistently taking their medications, creating a payment plan program could help lower-income patients.

Another strategy is asking patients when they’ll pick up their prescriptions and how they’ll get to the pharmacy, which encourages them to plan on getting their medications. If a patient doesn’t have a way to pick up the prescriptions they need, bringing that out into the open allows both the patient and provider time to brainstorm other possibilities.

There are various reasons why patients may not be taking their medications, but anticipating those reasons and developing a range of strategies to deal with them can help your patients stay safe and healthy.

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