Improve Medication Compliance with Packaging
- 16 September 2021
Ensure Treatment Plans are Followed
Improving medication compliance remains a critical focus for healthcare professionals and the patients in their care. In this realm, compliance is the extent to which patient behavior matches the prescriber’s care plan and includes items such as taking medication on schedule or as written on a prescription.
Failing to follow medication directions, with regularity, can lead to unnecessary progressions of diseases, assorted complications, and a reduced functional ability and quality of life. Those with chronic conditions — like diabetes or cardiovascular disease — could see the most severe repercussions. For example, if you don’t follow your medication plan to help control your blood pressure, you’ll be more at risk for further heart disease, kidney failure, or stroke.
There are many well-tested, proven medications to treat such conditions. But, although there are many that are effective in combating disease and chronic ailments, their full benefits are often not realized because roughly half of all patients do not take their medications as described or according to their doctor’s plans.
The reasons for this are many and include factors related to patients, physicians, and health care systems. Today, we’ll examine some of these factors and uncover some ways to help improve medication compliance.
Factors that Impede Medication Compliance
Poor adherence to medicinal treatment can severely compromise patient outcomes and increases the chances of patient mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) has written that simply improving this aspect of medical care would yield substantial health and economic benefits for those suffering from conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.
It’s an issue that needs to be attacked on three fronts. Only by addressing patient-relation factors, physician-related factors, and health-system factors can real and long-lasting improvement be found.
For patients, many will enter into a treatment plan with a lack of understanding about their disease, and once diagnosed will experience a lack of involvement in the treatment decision-making process. This all leads to suboptimal health literacy or knowledge about what effect their disease can have on their lives without treatment. Without this baseline knowledge, or with preconceived notions about the effectiveness of the treatment, or with previous ‘bad’ experiences with medical therapies, many patients will lack the motivation to follow through on their prescriptions.
Also affecting patients are a number of more personal issues. A lack of insight about potential side effects could discourage usage. The cost of medication has risen substantially in recent years and may also dissuade some from consistently following the plan. And many medication plans involve several medications at once with different patterns of usage (one a day, twice a day, etc.) which can lead to problems following through because of forgetfulness or a lack of ease following complex directions.
Not only do some doctors often fail to recognize when medication compliance is lacking in patients, but also contribute to it by prescribing complex drug regimens, failing to explain the benefits or side effects of medication clearly, or inadequately consider the financial and other burdens for the patient to follow through.
Communication issues are often at the core of these factors. For instance, failing to tabulate a history of alternative, supplemental, or herbal therapies from patients can lead to unintended side effects and ultimately less trust in the treatment prescribed. Communication among the healthcare providers treating a patient may also be insufficient as well. One study showed that direct communication between hospitals and primary care physicians occurred in less than 20% of hospitalizations, and discharge summaries are available at less than 34% of first post-discharge visits.
Healthcare System Factors
The nation’s healthcare system is fragmented, sprawling, exceedingly difficult to navigate, and can create barriers to medication compliance as well. The apparatus can make coordinating care difficult, and dampen the patient’s access to care. In addition, prohibitive drug costs or copayments force some to make choices about what to spend money on in a given month. Finally, because of the constraints of the system, patients may not get the time needed with their physician to properly assess or understand medication-taking behaviors, benefits, and recommendations.
Lakeview Pharmacy has Medication Compliance Solutions
There are a host of ways for healthcare providers to aid with medication compliance and improve communication with their patients. Reducing the complexity of the regimen recommended — with once-daily dosing instead of multiple for instance — has been found to help. Wiring down instructions, or using products like medication calendars, schedules, charts, or pill cards have also proven effective for helping patients adhere to medication plans.
Working with patients and answering their questions, as well as engaging with the community pharmacists that serve those patients also can improve compliance. As one of those community-focused pharmacies for more than 45 years, Lakeview Pharmacy also has solutions that can aid and improve medication compliance including Medicine-On-Time (M-O-T) blister packets, Dispill, and single-dose ‘bingo’ card solutions.
M-O-T blister packs improve medication organization, and save space, by holding up to six medications at one time. Each individual packet, or bubble, is labeled with the patient’s name, date, time, and the medication names included. These color-coded calendar cards can be separated into individual pill cups — with one day’s entire medication load — and taken on the go.
Meanwhile, Dispill is perfect for patients staying at home instead of a facility. The patented, cold-sealed, multi-dose packaging system includes 28 individual, easy-to-open blisters containing the prescribed medications with each color-coded for reminders about when to take them.
By contrast, single-dose bingo cards are ideal for those living in a group setting. Each card contains single doses, or all the medications, that a resident would need to take at a given time. Each ‘cup’ is labeled with the resident’s name, medication, and dosages. The cards remain ‘punchable’ in order to retrieve the medication, yet strong enough to resist accidental punctures.
Lastly, Lakeview Pharmacy’s MedSync service will help you keep all your medications organized and refilled on schedule. MedSync is a free program where we fill all of a patient’s medications at the same time each month. Once filled, our pharmacists will contact the patient to answer any questions and ensure each prescription is up-to-date. We’ll also automatically check for refills each week, taking the stress and hassle off your hands.
Every six months, the MedSync service will be reviewed to make sure it meets your satisfaction. By using the program, you’ll be eligible for free delivery of your medications each month.
Lakeview Pharmacy has always put a priority on serving our customers’ needs and we’ll make sure to find accessible, easy ways for you to improve your medication compliance. Connect with us today to learn more about these products and plans, or to learn more about many of the custom options designed to help you achieve your healthcare goals.