Patient adherence - is it a problem?

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Written byThomas Forissier - Principal, Life Sciences Practice, Capgemini Consulting The fact that patients disregard medical advice has been acknowled...

Written by Thomas Forissier - Principal, Life Sciences Practice, Capgemini Consulting

The fact that patients disregard medical advice has been acknowledged for centuries. In the fifth century BC, Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician had forewarned physicians when he wrote: “Keep watch also on the faults of the patients which often make them lie about the taking of things prescribed.”

Despite an evolved understanding, the issue of poor adherence is overlooked as a serious public health issue and consequently has received little direct or sustained intervention in the past.

A recent study by Capgemini Consulting, the global strategy and transformation consulting brand of the Capgemini Group, looked into patient adherence and discovered that the average adherence rate dropped significantly from 69 percent from the first prescription, to a 40 percent drop in adherence for all following prescriptions.

Lack of patient adherence to prescribed medications poses a tremendous challenge to the global healthcare community. The rising cost of healthcare is also forcing governments to formulate policies encouraging wellness & prevention, improving healthcare outcomes and linking reimbursements with results all of which will reward adherence initiatives.

Interestingly, social media is being eyed by the pharmaceutical industry as a key medium to mould the opinion of patients and improve adherence. Recent advancements in technology like smart pills, remote monitoring, mobile and web based games and smart phone applications have made implementing adherence programs easier and cheaper. Improved patient adherence will lead to significant cost savings for the healthcare industry as well as an overall improvement in overall patient health.

However, the problem of adherence cannot be resolved overnight. A combination of policy reforms, technology advancements, social media adoption and health records will force different stakeholders to collaborate closely to develop solutions. The pharmaceutical industry should take the lead to provide meaningful collaborations between different healthcare stakeholders to create maximum impact on adherence. Ultimately, the industry can collaborate easily with physicians to design adherence programs, take the help of pharmacists and nurses in executing the programs whilst providing knowledge and confidence to patients and tackle patient adherence head on.

About the Vision & Reality Report 2011

Capgemini’s Vision & Reality report incorporates information from over 60 interviews with Life Sciences executives based in the U.S. and Europe. This report is the 9th in a series of global studies examining issues most likely to impact the industry in the near future.


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