Digital Disease Management to optimize care and improve patient outcomes

Category: >> Medication Management

Patients as Partners: 7 Ways to Improve Patient Compliance

November 20, 2019

Improve Patient Compliance Using Patient Generated Health Data and Patient Engagement

Although most commonly used in reference to medication, patient compliance or adherence is how well a patient follows a prescribed medical regimen or treatment plan as it is intended. The duration, frequency, and complexity of the behavior(s) required of the patient,all have an impact on the level of patient compliance.  

“Patient compliance is “the extent to which a person’s behavior (in terms of taking medications, following diets, or executing lifestyle changes) coincides with medical or health advice.”

Patient Compliance and Health Behavior Models

Patient non-compliance is a huge problem for the healthcare industry with reports of non-compliance costing the US economy between $100 and $300 billion dollars annually, inclusive of costs related to avoidable hospitalizations, nursing home admissions, and premature deaths. Another report places the figure even higher, at more than $564 billion dollars annually. To prevent the burden that non-compliance places on the healthcare industry and the economy, improving patient compliance must be a priority for all healthcare stakeholders.

7 Ways to Improve Patient Compliance

Improving patient compliance requires patients to become engaged in their healthcare, taking responsibility for their well-being, and actively participating in their health decisions. Healthcare stakeholders have begun implementing different patient engagement strategies and tools to improve patient compliance and resultant health outcomes. However, for any of these strategies to be successful, healthcare stakeholders need to work with patients as partners and actively engage them in the process. Healthcare organizations can improve patient compliance by:

  1. Devising and implementing policies and procedures that support patient engagement as well as policies that help identify the non-compliant patients
  2. Leveraging patient generated health data to assist in creating treatment decisions
  3. Utilizing available healthcare technology
  4. Facilitating patient education about their illnesses/conditions and how to manage their conditions, including medication management
  5. Including the patient in the decision-making process surrounding their healthcare
  6. Engaging and empowering caregivers to provide patient-centered care
  7. Measuring progress and making changes where necessary

Simplifying the process surrounding the treatment regimen as much as possible will go a long way in improving patient compliance.

Patient Engagement to Improve Patient Compliance

An engaged patient is more likely to be a compliant patient. Healthcare organizations need to invest in patient engagement strategies to improve patient compliance and health outcomes. Policies must be developed and implemented to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to patient engagement and procedures for all staff to follow in engaging patients must also be implemented. Organizations must alsoensure that patients are treated with respect and that the organization feels welcoming to patients. The way patients are treated impacts how much they value the care they are provided by an organization which may also influence how well they comply with their treatment regimen.

“Engaged patients are better able to make informed decisions about their care options.”


WHO Report

Organizations should also (i) ensure that care providers are afforded adequate time with each patient so that they can really communicate with the patient to find out their health status and how their lives outside of the healthcare setting may be impacting their compliance (ii) make it a policy for providers to ask questions such as “What medications are you taking?” and “How often do you take a particular medication?” Providers also need adequate time to educate patients on their chronic conditions and how best to manage them.

Healthcare organizations should utilize technology for patient engagement which can improve patient compliance – employ electronic health records (EHRs) to simplify the patient registration process, facilitate online bill payments, secure messaging, etc. EHRs can also help providers to easily keep track of and update patients’ medications thus facilitating the smooth coordination of a patient’s medications across all healthcare stakeholders. Healthcare organizations should develop patient portals that provide patients with relevant information and facilitate interaction with the healthcare team, and incorporate technology that can make the medication prescription and dispensing process simpler and faster, such as Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) or electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) tools.

Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) can be Used to Improve Patient Compliance

Patients nowadays are generating a tremendous amount of their health care data on their own through use of technologies such as wearable devices and mHealth apps. Patients are also being monitored remotely through registered medical devices such as the pacemaker and blood glucose monitors that monitor data on heart rate and blood glucose levels. Healthcare organizations should encourage healthcare providers to use PGHD to assist with creating treatment regimens for their patients. Utilizing PGHD in this manner can improve patient engagement and by extension, improve compliance as well. It has been shown that patients were more engaged when PGHD were used during their office visits compared to when PGHD were not used. Patients who see and feel that their healthcare providers are invested in their health and value their contributions including their PGHD, are more likely to be engaged and compliant with treatment plans.

In order to facilitate and encourage the use of PGHD in treatment and care, healthcare organizations can also harness and implement Digital Disease Management Solutions that provides a user-friendly environment to identify changes in disease condition, manage medication adherence and enable easy communication between patients and healthcare providers. Improving patient compliance is essential to reducing disease burden, the cost of chronic care and improving patient outcomes. Healthcare organizations need to take necessary steps to improve patient compliance by treating patients as partners and utilizing available healthcare technologies and PGHD.

Learn more about Acuma Health technologies to help you incorporate patient generated health data into your healthcare organizations or begin leveraging healthcare technology today with this guide.


Medication Management to Reduce Avoidable Readmissions

October 23, 2019

Improve Patient Compliance in Medication Management

Patients with chronic illnesses are usually placed on a chronic care management plan that includes multiple medications. Proper medication management, including compliance with the care management plan, is integral to successfully treating high risk patients with chronic conditions and minimizing hospital admissions and readmissions.

Non-compliance or non-adherence to medication is of global concern in healthcare and is associated with poorer patient outcomes including hospital readmissions and death. There are reports of medication non-adherence affecting 50% of patients and resulting in an increased likelihood of hospitalization by up to 134% for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Medication management can improve patient compliance and therefore significantly reduce avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions. Patient compliance with respect to medication management could be improved in ways such as:

  • Providing support so that patients can better understand their disease and its management
  • Providing medication management counselling for caregivers
  • Incorporating pharmacists into the care team as coaches for drug therapies
  • Leveraging healthcare technology such as automated medication dispensers and text message reminders

Medication Management in Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively

With non-adherence to medication comes increased hospital readmissions and associated costs. Healthcare organizations, spurred by regulations of the Affordable Care Act which instituted penalties for excessive 30-day hospital readmission rates for certain conditions, are implementing programs to reduce these rates. The Reducing Avoidable Hospital Readmissions Effectively (RARE) campaign was one initiative within the Minnesota Hospital Association aimed at reducing avoidable hospital readmissions. The RARE campaign saw healthcare stakeholders in the state of Minnesota collaborating to combat the issue of avoidable hospital readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge by focussing on five key strategies:

  1. Comprehensive discharge planning
  2. Medication management
  3. Patient and family engagement
  4. Transition care support
  5. Transition communications

The medication management strategy included educating patients to ensure that they knew about their medications and how to take them properly, providing a written list of instructions to both the patient and his/her family, and collecting a list of the medications a patient was taking and updating it with any changes that was made in the hospital so that the next healthcare provider had the patient’s most current medications. Additionally, patients with multiple prescribed medications (greater than 5), or more than two medication changes in the hospital, were referred for follow-up visits with other healthcare professionals to help them manage their prescriptions.

The RARE campaign was a success with the Minnesota Hospital Association reporting 9,981 readmissions avoided, 39,924 nights where patients slept in their own beds, and $87.9 million in savings between 2009 and the second quarter of 2014.

Healthcare Technology to Support Medication Management

The use of healthcare technology is becoming mainstream and essential. As in many other aspects of healthcare, technology can be leveraged to support medication management for the benefit of all healthcare stakeholders. Some ways in which healthcare technology can be used to support medication management include:

  • Electronic Health/Medical Records (EHR/EMR)–can be used to accumulate and update medications thus facilitating the smooth coordination of a patient’s medications across all healthcare stakeholders.
  • Electronic Decision Support Systems (EDSS)–these are tools that can be used to support healthcare providers in making evidence-based decisions at the point of care and to provide patient-specific recommendations.
  • mHealth apps – these can be utilized to remind patients to pick up or renew their prescriptions, take medication based on their prescribed medication schedule, keep track of their medications, and record progress.
  • Technology to support different aspects of medication management–Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) or electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) tools can be used to support medication ordering, bar coding can support nurses in medication administration, and there are tools for assisting pharmacists with reviewing medication orders and dispensing.
  • Error monitoring – Computerised systems and applications can be utilized to facilitate documentation and detection of Adverse Drug Effects and support the voluntary reporting of medication errors to regulatory bodies.
  • Text messages – can be used by healthcare providers to remind patients of when and how to take their medications as well as remind them to refill and/or renew their prescription
  • Automated medication dispensers – dispense pre-packaged medication in the right dose and at the right time. These machines can remind patients of the time to take their medications as well as collect data on missed doses that can be fed back to the patient’s healthcare provider for use in their care management.

Healthcare technology is revolutionizing the way healthcare services are provided and is beneficial to the patient and all healthcare stakeholders. There are many tools that can be utilized to manage health conditions and improve patient outcomes. See how Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution can help your healthcare organization improve outcomes and optimize care. For more strategies on improved management of patients, download the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology.


Leveraging Healthcare Technology Guide Now Available to Support Improved Management of High-Risk Patients and Patient Outcomes

September 9, 2019

The complexity of the healthcare industry requires leveraging data-driven healthcare technology to improve patient outcomes – The Leveraging Healthcare Technology Guide is available as a free download to help transform the management of patients with complex chronic conditions.

NEWS RELEASE – San Jose, CA – August 2019 – Fast growing leader in digital health and disease management solutions, Acuma Health, is pleased to introduce the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology to Improve Management of High-Risk Patients. The free 16-page download will help healthcare organizations truly understand the complexity of the healthcare industry and the challenges of disease management in high-risk patient care. The guide will also illuminate how healthcare technology can be used to maximize patient engagement and transform the collection, analysis, and reporting of patient generated health data to achieve improved patient outcomes.

Patients with chronic complex conditions such as (hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and more) are cared for by several different healthcare providers, making care coordination a challenge and resulting in increased cost of care.

The Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology to Improve Management of High-Risk Patients covers a variety of crucial areas that healthcare stakeholders should be well-versed on to ensure better management of patient care and costs including:

  • Challenges of chronic care management in high-risk patients
  • Increased use and availability of technology in healthcare
  • Growth in use of smart connected consumer devices
  • Ways to improve and enhance patient self-care
  • How a digital disease management solution can help improve patient outcomes and reduce cost

“The Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology to Improve Management of High-Risk Patients was developed because we wanted to provide healthcare stakeholders with a roadmap to improving high-risk patient care and outcomes while optimizing healthcare costs. We know that implementing the right healthcare technology is a major part of that journey,” said Anoo Nathan, President and CEO of Acuma Health.

“The Acuma Health team is passionately dedicated to assisting healthcare stakeholders who are treating and managing patients with chronic conditions. We focus on leveraging the most up-to-date technologies to provide a frictionless process to allow patients and their healthcare providers to engage,” said Dr. Sanjaya Kumar, Chief Medical Officer Smart Monitor.

Those interested in obtaining the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology to Improve Management of High-Risk Patients can download the guide for free at the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology download page. Interested parties can also contact our healthcare technology experts with any questions or to request a consultation.

About Acuma Health

Acuma Health, a business unit of Smart Monitor, is a fast-growing Silicon Valley company and leader in digital health and disease management solutions. The company is led by a management team that encompasses a vital blend of technology, healthcare, and clinical expertise leadership.

Acuma Health serves leading specialty pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, self-insured employers, hospitals and healthcare institutions, and accountable care organizations across the country.

The patent-protected, proprietary, digital health platform, Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution, collects, manages, and analyzes patient generated health data which provides actionable, cost-reducing, real-time insights and workflow optimizations to healthcare stakeholders.

For more information about Acuma Health, please visit www.acumahealth.com or contact our healthcare technology experts.