As the cost of healthcare increases, employers identify new ways to improve outcomes and reduce costs. One way to achieve positive health outcomes, including financial gains, is to increase employees’ medication adherence.
Medication adherence, or taking medications correctly, is generally defined as the extent to which patients take medication as prescribed by their doctors. This involves factors such as getting prescriptions filled, remembering to take medication on time, and understanding the directions. People who adhere to medication plans have increased productivity and better health outcomes, especially those with chronic health conditions.
In Managing Medication Matters, Health Action Council discusses the importance of medication adherence, and how employers can shape health care benefits and services to improve employee medication adherence.
“The cost of medication non-adherence is too high to avoid action,” said Patty Starr, President and CEO of Health Action Council. “Employers can encourage employees to stick with their medication schedule to: reduce lost work time, decrease short-term disability and reduce the number of emergency room visits.”
Managing Medication Matters identified six ways that employers can help by: using data; educating; reducing costs; simplifying; communicating; and increasing access. Managing Medication Matters gives employers actions and resources they can use to tackle the barriers to non-adherence, as well as strategies and technology to improve adherence.
“Employers can use to engage employees from simple steps like distributing pill organizers and health education materials, to using data and analytics to underscore the importance of improving medical adherence," said Starr. “Simple things like distributing pill organizers and dissemination of communications materials will help exponentially.”
Medication non-adherence costs $290 billion dollars per year in the U.S. Managing Medication Matters gives employers, medical and pharmacy providers actions to create a balanced approach with a combination of technology, education and reminder programs. With healthcare data and technology constantly evolving, the potential impact is enormous.
Employers can also help employees find the most cost-effective way to attain medication in simple ways, such on-demand delivery and education.
About Health Action Council
Health Action Council is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid- and large-size employers that enhances human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services, and collaboration. It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents, and retirees.
Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders – health plans, physicians, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry – to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community.