Alert Solutions Blog

SMS Text Messaging Helps Improve Patient Medication Adherence, Studies Say

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 10:10 AM

Medical providers sometimes struggle to get their patients to follow health care regimens.  Taking prescribed medications as directed is a major part of this.

patientmedicationadherance.pngDid you know that 10-25% of hospital and nursing home stays are blamed on poor medication adherence

The issue is also estimated to cost the healthcare industry between $100 and $300 billion annually through corrective measures.

Regardless, there’s been promising news!

More evidence now suggests that the use of SMS text messaging helps remind patients to take their medication when they’re supposed to.  This information comes from an article posted on MedCity News.

With its high open rate and widespread use, SMS text messaging provides healthcare providers with a friendly, direct communication method straight to patients’ mobile phones.  It’s perfect for medication adherence. 

Here are some facts from a JAMA Internal Medicine study on the topic:

  • 2,742 patients were sent medication reminders over a twelve week trial.
  • Reminders varied from personalized, daily increment and two-way communication.
  • Medication adherence was nearly doubled through the use of SMS text reminders.

The Biggest Benefit?  Fewer complications and lower costs!

With patients taking their medications at the frequency prescribed by their doctors, complications from missed doses are reduced and overall costs are cut.

Alert Solutions' Suite of Patient Notification Systems

Topics: health, SMS text messaging, Medical, patient communication, medication adherence

Good Patient Engagement Equals Optimal Health Outcomes – 3 Reasons Why

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

According to a Health Affairs policy briefing, patients that stay actively engaged with their own health experience better results and lower costs. 

This connection makes patient engagement such a strong focus that healthcare providers are finding creative new ways to educate patients about their conditions, as well as involving them more in decisions about their care.

But how does good patient engagement lead to optimal health outcomes?  Simply put, patients with high engagement:

  • Are more proactive. Rather than a reactive approach, patients who are engaged with their own health are shown to take quick initiative when talking to their doctor and seeking care.PatientAndDoctor.jpg
  • Have better medication adherence. With good patient engagement comes understanding, and these patients realize the effects of day-to-day decisions on their overall health.  This is why they’re more likely to follow the doctor’s orders.
  • Tend to be more invested. Because engaged patients are more involved in their health care decisions, they are more devoted to attending their appointments, filling their prescriptions and anything else possible to get the best health outcome possible.

Something else to consider: Athena Health pointed out that patient health outcomes can be further improved through the implementation of an effective patient communication solution. Automated patient messaging is a big factor of this solution.

Alert Solutions' Patient Communication Suite Download Our Brochure!

Topics: health, Medical, medication adherence, patient engagement

Self-Care Compliance Depends on Patient Communication Preferences

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 10:08 AM

It’s challenging to keep patients engaged with their health between office visits.  Whether taking prescribed medications or following a special diet, complying with self-care instructions leads to fewer complications, lower costs, and better health outcomes for patients.

What’s the secret to self-care compliance?  Patient communication preferences!receptionist.jpg

As an example, research showed that:

  • 43% of patients polled prefer to receive a voice call
  • 25% prefer an email
  • 70% find the use of a patient portal to be convenient

Not all patients are the same, so yours may have different patient communication preferences.

What’s the best way to determine patient communication preferences?  Simply ask during the check-in process.  Collect updated contact information during each office visit and any necessary consent needed for messaging channels.

Since up to 80% of self-care medical mistakes are blamed on poor communication, leverage patients’ preferred methods of contact to improve self-care adherence.

Don’t forget: Your patients may prefer different contact methods depending on the type of message that’s being received.  Check out this blog post for the stats.

Alert Solutions provides medical practices the tools they need to keep in touch with patients in their preferred methods of contact.

Download our brochure to learn more about Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Suite today!

Alert Solutions' Patient Communication Suite Download Our Brochure!

Topics: Medical, patient communication, medication adherence, patient engagement

3 Patient Engagement Perks that Healthcare Providers Must Know

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 @ 11:10 AM

Patient engagement, a term highlighted by Meaningful Use Stage 2, is best described by the notion of doctors helping patients help themselves.  By actively engaging in their own health, patients are responsible for their own care between office visits.
 
There are numerous benefits to patient engagement:
 
A HealthcareITNews article cited the opinion of GetWellNetwork’s David Wright; patients who are cognizant of their health and their care are more likely to get and stay healthy.
 
The following are three top perks to strong patient engagement.  Do you notice any of these trends in your own patients?
 
1.)  Better Care AdherencePatientEngagementPerks
Engaged patients are more compliant and adherent.  This means taking their medications as prescribed and following self-care instructions as directed – improving medication adherence. With up to 80% of self-care medical mistakes blamed on poor doctor-patient communication, and therefore poor engagement, it’s a major safety risk.
 
2.)  Higher Patient Satisfaction
More patient engagement leads to higher patient satisfaction.  It’s one of the most important perks!  One healthcare provider leveraged technology for medicine education and received better post-care patient survey scores. The same was true for a different provider that used televisions in their waiting room to share information with patients.
 
3.)  More Efficient Medical Practice Operations
According to a Health Affairs policy briefing, patients that stay actively engaged with their own health experience lower costs.  This trickles-down to the operations of the medical provider.  For example, when patients understand their self-care instructions, they incur less remedial costs from complications.  Simply put, more engaged patients require less time and effort from office staff.
 
BONUS TIP:  Did you know that communication between the patient and healthcare provider is the catalyst to successful patient engagement? Medical practices that have implemented automated communication solutions can attest to increased efficiency and lower costs. See for yourself!
 
Alert Solutions can help your medical practice increase engagement through communication.  Download our Best Practice Kit for some more information.

Download the Patient Communication Best Practice Guide!

Topics: Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, medication adherence, patient engagement

Automated Patient Reminders Improve Medication Adherence, One Study Shows

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, May 28, 2015 @ 10:05 AM

We all forget to do things once in a while; it’s human nature. But the issue of patients forgetting to take their medicine is a serious one. Consider the chilling facts:

  • 125,000 people die each year in the U.S. from not taking their medication correctly.
  • Americans with chronic conditions forget to take their prescriptions 60% of the time.
  • Poor medication adherence accounts for 10-25% of hospital and nursing home stays.
  • This issue costs the healthcare industry $100 - $300 billion in remedial care annually.

Not only is it dangerous to patients’ health, but costly to the overall healthcare industry.

The good news is this: Medication adherence can be improved with minimal intervention!Pharmacy-1-1

Between 2010 and 2011, healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente conducted a study with more than 21,000 of their members. With the use of automated telephone reminders, patients were 4% more likely to take their prescriptions as directed and refill them on time.

While this may not seem like a lot, Bill Vollmer, Senior Investigator in the study, stressed that even a small improvement means a big difference for a large population.

Patients on statins, ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers that received automated reminders also saw improvement in their cholesterol levels, the study found.

Is your medical practice using automated reminders to improve patient medication adherence? If not, Alert Solutions can help!

Download our brochure to learn more about Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Suite today!

To read the rest of the study’s results, click here.

Alert Solutions' Patient Communication Suite Download Our Brochure!

Topics: automated refill reminders, automated collection reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, medication adherence

Increase Medication Adherence in Your Medical Practice: A “SIMPLE” Strategy

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Jul 03, 2014 @ 15:07 PM

The problem of poor medicaltion adherence is a well-recognized problem in the healthcare industry. Studies have shown that in the United States alone, poor medication adherence causes 125,000 deaths annually and accounts for 10% to 25% of hospital and nursing home admissions. This makes non-adherence to medications not only dangerous for patients, but also only of the most costly factors for the healthcare industry.

A Medscape article provides a strategy to deal with the issue of medication adherence using the acronym “SIMPLE” which breaks down into:

  • “S” Simplifying Regimen Characteristics: 

Many medical offices already implement this strategy.  By simplifying a medication regimen or matching the medication regimen to the patient's activities of daily living, you can lessen the chance ofmedicationadherance medication non-adherence.

  • “I” Imparting Appropriate Knowledge

Patients' understanding of their conditions and treatments is positively related to medication adherence. Medication adherence, satisfaction, recall and understanding are all related to the amount and type of information given by medical offices.  Studies have shown that patients who understand the purpose of the prescription are twice more likely to fill it than those who do not understand the purpose.

  • “M” Modifying Beliefs and Human Behavior

Some diagnoses and medical regimens are complex and require lifestyle modification.  When this is the case it is worthwhile to address patients' beliefs, intentions, and ability to perform the actions required. This is because knowledge alone is not sufficient to enhance medication adherence in recommendations involving complex behavior change.

  • “P” Patient Communication

Patient communication encompasses interventions ranging from sending voice, email or SMS text reminders, to involving patients' families in the dialogue. At least 50% of patients leave their medical offices not knowing what they have been told.  This is an imperative part of improving medication adherence.  Medical offices need to be communicating with patients from the time the appointment is made throughout the post-appointment follow-up.

  • “L” Leaving the Bias

In a review of 185 studies, no clear relationship between medication adherence and race, sex, educational experience, intelligence, marital status, occupational status, income, and ethnic or cultural background was found.  It is important for medical offices to understand that medical adherence can be an issue for anyone and focus their efforts on ensuring all patients are adhering to medications.

  • “E” Evaluating Adherence

It is imperative to measure and evaluate patient medication adherence in order to correct issues in adherence that are found.  Self-reporting is the most practical and widely used tool. If asked simply and directly, patients can be very accurate in reporting whether they are adhering to their medications. Regular assessment of patient adherence by itself can lead to increased patient adherence.

Implementing a patient communication solution, such as Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Suite can help provide greater patient communication, increasing the likelihood of medication adherence.  By providing notifications, such as automated refill reminders and wellness reminders via patients preferred communication channels, medical offices can reduce medical non-adherence and increase their bottom line.

Learn how you can maximize patient communication through automated notifications and improve medical adherence in your medical practice today!

Alert Solutions' Patient Communication Suite Download Our Brochure!

Topics: automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, medication adherence

Medication Adherence: Study Shows Patient Communication Plays a Major Role

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Feb 06, 2014 @ 13:02 PM

Medication adherence has been an ongoing obstacle for medical providers.  Not only could poor medical adherence have a detrimental effect on a patient’s care, but also on the healthcare industry in general due to the high costs associated with unfilled prescriptions.

A recent study has shown that patient communication plays a large role in medication adherence.  The study, led by Dr. Neda Ratanawongsa, an assistant professor in the department of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, found that 30-percent of the patients surveyed were not taking their medications as they should be.medicationadherance resized 600

"Rates for non-adherence were 4 to 6 percent lower for patients who felt their doctors listened to them, involved them in decisions and gained their trust. By supporting doctors in developing meaningful relationships with their patients, we could help patients take better care of themselves," Dr. Ratanawongsa explained.

Some patients who participated in the study explained that they do not feel connected with their medical providers or did not understand the medication instructions given by their medical provider.  Even if the medical provider had quality patient communication on matters that were not relative to medical adherence, medical adherence still showed improvement.

Medical providers can help improve medication adherence rates through implementing an automated messaging system.  An automated messaging system will benefit the medical practice through elements such as:

1.) Automated prescription refill reminders

By sending out automated prescription refill reminders using patients- preferred communication methods including email, SMS text and voice messaging, healthcare professionals can remind patients about their prescription and enable them to refill or speak to a pharmacist or medical provider at the press of a button.

2.)  Improving Patient Communication

Automating day-to-day tasks such as appointment reminders, lab result notifications, and collection reminders frees up staff time for more face-to-face interaction with visiting patients. Medical providers can focus extra time counseling patients that are chronically ill, continuously forgetting to refill prescriptions and educating their patients on the risks associated with medication non-adherence.

Learn how you can maximize patient communication through automated notifications and improve medical adherence in your medical practice today!

Alert Solutions' Patient Communication Suite Download Our Brochure!

Topics: automated refill reminders, Medical, patient communication, medication adherence

Struggling with Medication Adherence? Automated Prescription Refill Reminders Can Help

Posted by Cassie Breen on Wed, Sep 04, 2013 @ 15:09 PM

A large problem in America for adults prescribed ongoing medication for a chronic condition is medication adherence.  A recent report released by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) shows adults 40+ prescribed ongoing medication receive a combined grade of C+ for medication adherence.  This is an alarmingly low grade due to the amount of risks and costs associated with medication non-adherence.medicationadherance resized 600

The top two highlights of the report include:

1. Patients’ personal connection with medical professionals and remaining informed were among top predictors of medication adherence.

2. “Simply forgetting” was most common response from non-adherent respondents.

Healthcare professionals can help improve medication adherence rates by implementing automated prescription refill reminders.  By sending out automated prescription refill reminders through patients- preferred communication methods including email, SMS text and voice messaging, healthcare professionals can remind patients about their prescription and enable them to refill or speak to a pharmacist or health professional at the press of a button.

By utilizing automated prescription refill reminders, healthcare professionals can focus extra time counseling patients that are chronically ill and continuously forgetting to refill prescriptions, instead of manually reminding  a patient who does not habitually forget to refill.  It is important for healthcare professionals to educate their patients on the risks associated with medication non-adherence.

Through automated prescription refill reminders and patient education, medication adherence rates can increase, lowering risks to patients and curbing costs for the healthcare industry associated with unfilled prescriptions. 

Download our patient engagement brochure to learn more about Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Solution today!

Topics: automated refill reminders, Medical, patient communication, medication adherence

Study - Automated Patient Communication Improves Medication Adherence

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 @ 10:01 AM

Lack of medication adherence is a prevalent problem in the healthcare industry, causing a broad range of health-economics-related issues.

Routine patient communication from care support teams at managed care organizations has proved effective at modifying patients' medication adherence and reporting behaviors. However, these communications are not a cost-effective solution to this growing issue.

Using automated patient communication to augment traditional call center outreach can help mediate patient medication-taking behaviors.  

According to American Health and Drug Benefits, a trial of 304 elderly patients with hypertension conducted by Osterberg and Blaschke showcased the benefits of using an automated patient communication solution for effective blood pressure monitoring, at reduced costs.

According to the study, the following were the top 4 reasons why patients were not adhering
to their medication regimens:

Automated Patient Communication Improves Medication Adherence
Forgetfulness-30%
- No reason-27%
Other priorities-16%
- Lack of information-9%

Lack of information and patient forgetfulness comprise 39% of the reasons cited for poor medication adherence. These 2 areas can be positively affected by automated patient communication.

Osterberg and Blaschke believe that 5 key criteria can determine whether automated communications will serve as a useful adjunct to patient outreach. These criteria revolve around the concepts of efficiency and effectiveness. Below are just a few:

1. Scalability
The ability to reach large populations of patients in a cost-effective manner.

2. Personalization and Interactivity
The ability to personalize or tailor the message to specifically address individual concerns. Interactivity is the ability to accept patient responses and can help ensure regulatory compliance by enabling appropriate authentication.

3. Reporting Visibility
Automation offers significant advantages in data collection and speed of analysis. Reporting can help organizations measure the results of their outreach efforts more effectively.

Download our patient engagement brochure to learn more about Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Solution today!

Topics: Medical, patient communication, medication adherence

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