Electronic health records offer new ways to monitor medication nonadherence

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — Catalina Health’s latest program and two previous studies illustrate the ways in which electronic health records and e-prescribing open the door for new ways to monitor medication nonadherence and, along with them, new ways to combat it.

(THE NEWS: Catalina Health addresses medication nonadherence with Health Consumer Journey. For the full story, click here.)

The Catalina program is an example of the kinds of technology-based, personalized approaches designed to get to the bottom of why patients don’t adhere to their medications.

It’s easy to point to medication non-adherence’s high cost – $290 billion per year to the U.S. economy, according to most sources – but harder to tackle the problem when it happens for a wide and complex variety of reasons.

An October study by Kaiser Permanente used electronic health records to monitor primary non-adherence, a seldom-explored facet of non-adherence in which patients receive new prescriptions on paper or electronically, but never drop the prescriptions off or pick up their drugs. Another October study, sponsored by CVS Caremark and also conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, used electronic prescribing data and found that 24% of patients given new medications by their doctors don’t fill them.