A person with a chronic condition goes to his doctor, who prescribes medication to treat that condition. Simple enough, right? Yet 20–30 percent of the time, a person doesn’t fill their prescription. And about 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed. 1
Many don’t realize the consequences of non-adherence. When patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease do not take medication as directed, the repercussions can be severe. For instance, not keeping your blood pressure in check can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually, and costs the health care system as much as $289 billion a year in additional doctor visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations. 2
There are many reasons behind non-adherence. The top three are poor health literacy, forgetfulness or being disorganized, and low motivation. Financial barriers and side effects also play a role.
Clearly, we need to do a better job of engaging individuals in their own health. That involves connecting them with the resources they need to understand:
- Why the medications are being prescribed
- How to take them as prescribed
- What’s at stake if they don’t
These are very personal issues. Each of us interacts differently with health care providers and pharmacies. And at an ever-increasing rate, people are using technology to engage in their health care. By offering many ways to connect, we provide options that are likely to appeal to a broad range of individuals.
At BriovaRx, the OptumRx® specialty pharmacy, we offer a variety of high-tech, high-touch consultation programs. Patients can video chat with their pharmacist, or use a smartphone app to text their doctor.
Specialty patients can watch short, condition-specific videos that educate in a way that’s easy to digest. Video testimonials from others with the same specialty condition offer guidance on what to expect from treatment, helping patients feel less alone.
We’ve found that using this technology can lead to increased medication adherence. For example:
- Video chat increases adherence 7 percent
- Viewing curated videos increases adherence by 10 percent
Increasing adherence drives down overall health care costs and saves lives. To learn more about increasing specialty medication adherence, read Leading specialty patients to better health.
1. Viswanatha M et al. Interventions to improve adherence to self-administered medications for chronic diseases in the U.S. Ann Intern Med. Dec. 4, 2012;157(11):785–795
2. Brody J. The cost of not taking your medicine. New York Times. April 17, 2017.
Robert D. Nace, Senior Director, Specialty Strategy & Clinical Programs, BriovaRx
Robert Nace joined the OptumRx organization in 2013. In his current role as senior director of specialty strategy and clinical programs, Mr. Nace leads strategy on the promotion of the BriovaRx brand. He is responsible for the overall value story for BriovaRx and leads the team that develops BriovaRx clinical programs. Prior to his current role, Mr. Nace also held the roles of senior director of specialty client management and director of clinical consulting within OptumRx. He led the clinical account management team for one of OptumRx’s largest health plan clients.
Prior to joining OptumRx, Mr. Nace gained extensive experience in the PBM industry. He served in several roles at Express Scripts where he focused on clinical and home delivery operations as a senior director in pharmacy operations. He was responsible for clinical and home delivery operations across ESI’s book of business focusing on accuracy of services and efficient processing. Mr. Nace led the operations effort to launch the Medicare Part D programs in 2006, as well as, created and launched the first remote pharmacist workforce in the industry.
Mr. Nace earned a BS from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences. He is located in Philadelphia, PA.
Mr. Nace is a licensed pharmacist in multiple states. He is a member of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP).