How Can Innovative Uses of Technology be Harnessed to Improve Medication Adherence?

Hayden B Bosworth


Expert Rev Pharmacoeconomics Outcomes Res. 2012;12(2):133-135. 

In This Article

Electronic Health Records & Medication Adherence

In addition to the potential of mHealth and IVR to improve medication adherence, the ability to use electronic health records to systematically collect, organize, access, analyze and better understand health information is expected to help improve medication adherence. It is expected that the use of health information technology, through better connectivity among patients, their providers and the healthcare system, can help improve medication management and monitoring of quality metrics. The use of health information technology and electronic prescribing provides a significant opportunity to measure and improve medication adherence at the point of care and to identify nonadherence. Medication reconciliation may be one of the significant results of the use of electronic medical records by providing a means for members of an individual's healthcare team to retrieve information to reconcile medications across the care continuum - during transitions of care, hospital admissions and hospital discharges.[17]

In summary, tools such as mHealth, including IVR, text messaging and electronic medical records, are increasingly being used to empower patients, their providers and the healthcare system to play a more active role in managing their medication. These tools may provide electronic reminders and track medication adherence. However, as indicated above, and in an additional recent study evaluating technology-based interventions, mobile phone reminders and in-home electronic technology used to communicate reminder messages have shown mixed results.[18] Significantly more work is needed to better understand the role of technology in improving medication adherence. For example, further work is needed to determine successful models of reimbursement and integrating these technological advances into the healthcare system. Opportunities for providers to monitor medication adherence will be necessary, given that three measures of medication possession ratios have already been made into Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services quality measures (e.g., cholesterol, diabetes and ACE inhibitor medications).

As we previously reported, current trials suggest that increasing automated reminders will complement, but not replace, the benefits seen with in-person communication for medication adherence.[18] However, given the public health consequences of poor medication adherence, the role of technology is likely to play an increasingly important role to facilitate improved healthcare outcomes. Further work is warranted to determine the best ways of implementing and using these technological advances to improve medication adherence.


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