Patient Adherence Initiatives Need a Patient-Centric Focus

Billions of dollars are lost each year due to patient non-adherence to physician-prescribed treatment, as I have discussed in previous posts. In a struggle to recoup these losses, companies have created patient adherence initiatives to educate patients and provide tools to facilitate . However, our recent research study found that the most successful programs are not designed solely from a commercial point of view; instead, they take a more holistic approach to health with the patient’s needs at the center of their efforts. In such programs, regaining lost revenue becomes a secondary benefit while maintaining a patient-centric focus becomes the primary goal.

This change reflects a fundamental philosophical and cultural shift within healthcare companies. Patient engagement teams are pushing companies to move beyond the traditional focus on short-term revenue and instead look towards improved patient relations and outcomes. A patient-centric approach allows adherence initiatives to be shaped by consumer needs and preferences, which vary based upon disease states. Rather than trying to predict what patient needs will be, adherence teams are reaching out to patients to hear from them directly to improve adherence rates. By incorporating the patient voice from the start, companies are able to design initiatives that will best meet the unique challenges inherent to each group.

This new approach replaces formulaic adherence initiatives that had increasingly proven ineffective and instead looks at each program independently. An interviewed executive responsible for patient adherence described the importance of this new focus, saying, “We treat each program as a blank slate.” This allows initiatives to be tailored as needed to deliver programs that are aligned with patients’ lifestyles, making them much more valuable to patients and effective in driving up adherence rates. It is only by keeping patients at the center of adherence efforts that healthcare organizations are able to realize improved health outcomes for patients and, as a byproduct, improved financial results.

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