Month: January 2016

Guest Post: 10 Medication Adherence Facts to Know in 2015

“Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

This post was written by Troy Hilsenroth

$105 billion of avoidable U.S. healthcare costs is due to medication non-adherence.

With 50 percent of Americans suffering from at least one chronic condition in their lifetime, medication management affects nearly everyone at some point. Whether an individual takes multiple medications or cares for a family member who is, the importance of taking medications as prescribed is highly undervalued. While missing a pill one day may seem insignificant, the effects of these habits can be highly detrimental and far-reaching, as guest blogger Troy Hilsenroth explains.

Not taking medication as prescribed, or medication non-adherence, can result in costly hospital bills, declines in patient wellness, and medical complications among other outcomes. Due to these very real risks, additional awareness about this serious public health issue is crucial moving into 2015.

Pharmacists already possess the patient care tools necessary to help with this problem. Patients need to access available tools to improve their medication adherence and educate themselves about their meds. The first step in reversing these trends is to promote education around the severity of medication non-adherence.

The following are ten medication adherence statistics to know in 2015:


  • Nearly 50 percent of Americans have one or more chronic conditions that require prescription medications, according to the CDC.
  • Medication adherence is higher among patients who see the same healthcare provider each time they have a medical appointment. In this group, the average adherence is 81 percent, according to “Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card,” a recent report from the National Community Pharmacists Association.
  • Non-adherent patients are 17 percent more likely to be hospitalized than adherent patients, with a cost that exceeds that of an adherent patient by $3,575. 2
  • Generic medications have higher rates of adherence than name brand prescriptions, with 77 percent of patients adhering to generics as opposed to 71 percent with the name brand. 3
  • For some classes of medication, up to 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled by the patient, according to the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI).
  • Patients receive 3.4 more refills per prescription in a 12-month period when their refills are synchronized, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Medication non-adherence poses a very real risk for patients and their providers. A collaborative care team including physicians, pharmacists, and the patient is crucial to continuing education on this issue and establishing a medication management strategy to stay healthy and out of the hospital.”

Hilsenroth, Troy. Healthcare Intelligence Network. Thursday, January 22nd, 2015. January, 27, 2016.


Health Affairs (Dec 2015)

Robin Osborn of The Commonwealth Fund and coauthors analyzed the results from the Fund’s annual international survey of primary care doctors in the United States and nine other industrialized countries. The study examined different aspects of primary care practice for patients with complex needs, including coordination of care, arrangements for after-hours care, and the use of secure e-mail as a means of expanding access to primary care. American primary care physicians stand out as being the most critical of their health care system (only 16 percent felt the system works well) and as having high levels of stress (43 percent) and dissatisfaction (34 percent) practicing medicine.

Primary Care Physicians In Ten Countries Report Challenges Caring For Patients With Complex Health Needs

“Industrialized countries face a daunting challenge in providing high-quality care for aging patients with increasingly complex health care needs who will need ongoing chronic care management, community, and social services in addition to episodic acute care. Our international survey of primary care doctors in the United States and nine other countries reveals their concern about how well prepared their practices are to manage the care of patients with complex needs and about their variable experiences in coordinating care and communicating with specialists, hospitals, home care, and social service providers. While electronic information exchange remains a challenge in most countries, a positive finding was the significant increase in the adoption of electronic health records by primary care doctors in the United States and Canada since 2012. Finally, feedback on job-related stress, perceptions of declining quality of care, and administrative burden signal the need to monitor front-line perspectives as health reforms are conceived and implemented.”

Osborn, Robin; Moulds, Donald; Schneider, Eric C; Doty, Michelle M; Squires, David; and Sarnak, Dana O. “Primary Care Physicians In Ten Countries Report Challenges Caring For Patients With Complex Health Needs” Copyright 2016 by Project HOPE: The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc., HealthAffairs, January 26, 2016,