Healthcare News & Insights

Medication nonadherence costs $300B annually: How to close the gap

Patients not adhering to their medications is an eternal struggle at every healthcare facility. No matter how many times you remind patients about taking their medications, picking up refills and following instructions, somehow it always slips through the cracks. 

A new report from Couch, a medical communications agency, reveals almost half of patients with medical conditions skip their medications sometimes. In addition, more than a quarter don’t know what to do if they experience side effects.

It’s not just patients who suffer when they don’t take their medications, however. Besides the adverse health effects, nonadherence also costs the healthcare system big bucks – to the tune of $300 billion each year, according to Healthcare Finance News.

The Couch survey revealed that medication adherence correlates to the disease being managed. Patients with cancer, for example, were much less likely to skip doses than those with mental health conditions.

Provider communication about medication

Regardless of the medical condition, you know patients need to be taking their medications as part of their treatment plan and recovery.

The No. 1 way to improve medication adherence? Provider communication.

When patients are consistently talking to their providers, the chances of them forgetting to pick up refills are lower. They’re also less likely to skip doses. Plus, when providers and patients have a good relationship, patients will understand why they need to take the specific medication and what will happen if they don’t.

That good relationship also allows patients to ask questions or seek clarification if they don’t understand something, which is a positive for both medication adherence and their general health and well-being.

And an open line of communication means patients will feel more comfortable letting providers know if medications are causing negative side effects, instead of just discontinuing their use of the drugs.

Try new methods

Keeping patients on track with their medications also helps your bottom line, since patients who aren’t taking the correct medications are more likely to be readmitted to your hospital.

One excellent way to remind patients to take medications and open up lines of communication involves using patient portals. If you don’t have one already, creating an online portal where patients can be reminded about their prescriptions and any necessary refills can ensure nothing falls by the wayside.

When medication is out of sight, it’s out of mind. Using your patient communication systems to keep medication adherence at the forefront of patients’ thoughts means they’re more likely to take their medications, which improves their health and saves your facility money.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.