Healthcare News & Insights

Spot & stop medication nonadherence with data analytics

Patient nonadherence to medication is one of the biggest problems facing providers and hospitals today. Treatment doesn’t work if someone doesn’t follow instructions, but how can facilities spot those patients – and convince them to change their behavior? Strategic use of patient data can help. 

Using data analytics can improve rates of medication adherence, and it may also lower healthcare costs.

Almost $300 billion per year is spent on caring for health conditions attributable to nonadherence, according to Healthcare Finance News.

Reasons for nonadherence

The most cited reason for patient nonadherence to medication is usually cost. Medication and treatment can be expensive, and many patients don’t regularly fill their prescriptions or take the recommended dosages as a way to save money and make their medicine last longer.

Money isn’t the only barrier to adherence, however. Other barriers include confusion and uncertainty surrounding their diagnosis and treatment, and fear of potential side effects.

Because there are many potential reasons for nonadherence, focusing on just one won’t make a significant difference.

Medication adherence rates are only about 50% to 60%, depending on the patient population. To increase those numbers, figuring out multipronged approaches to address patients’ concerns is the way forward.

Predicting patient behaviors

Using big data and predictive analytics can streamline hospitals’ and providers’ approaches to nonadherence and improve the effectiveness of those methods.

When it comes to medication adherence, data analytics is essential for:

  • Figuring out who does and doesn’t need an intervention. There’s no point in spending time reaching out to people who are already adhering to their medications. Data analysis can pinpoint the ones that need help.
  • Predicting adherence. Looking at data can help facilities see which patients are and aren’t adherent now, and which ones will and won’t be adherent in the future. Analytics can even shed light on when they’ll become nonadherent. That way, hospitals and providers can intervene before it becomes a concern.
  • Identifying who’ll benefit from different types of intervention. Understanding the timing of interventions and potential barriers to adherence can help hospitals and providers’ narrow their efforts and spend their time most efficiently. And personalizing the intervention for each patient means the chance of success is higher.
  • Discerning responsiveness. Finding out how well a certain patient will respond to a given type of clinical outreach is “the Holy Grail of health behavior change in general,” says Niteesh Choudry, the executive director of the Center for Healthcare Delivery Sciences at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Big data and analytics will likely revolutionize the ways hospitals treat patients and can significantly improve efficiency in patient care.

Although the technology to use predictive analytics to its full potential is still being developed, you can start on a smaller scale by reviewing patient data saved in your hospital’s electronic health record system to identify patients who may be struggling with medication adherence.

In addition, there are some simpler tactics you can use to create a culture focused on reducing patient nonadherence with the help of big data.

For example:

  • Don’t apply a simple, one-size-fits-all intervention to every patient. Personalized approaches to medication adherence improve healthcare quality and get people more engaged in their own health care.
  • Use insurance claim data to begin analyzing patients and predicting their behavior. Large health insurance companies are using the info they collect on patients to predict and correct certain behavior patterns, and your hospital can benefit from their research, too.
  • Watch for future developments and share them with your team. Always be on the lookout for new technology and possibilities to improve quality of care for your patients.

Patient nonadherence is a major barrier to keeping patients healthy. But with a combination of simple strategies and more complex organizational changes, your facility can boost medication adherence rates.

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