E-prescribing provides tremendous benefits for healthcare providers and patients, who can now enjoy instant, accurate, and trackable prescriptions. But no matter how doctors are writing and sending their scripts, medication doesn’t work if the patient doesn’t adhere to their prescription. Thankfully, e-prescribing also helps healthcare providers fight the challenge of medication nonadherence. Let’s see how an e-prescribe solution like NewCropRx can help you solve prescription problems in your practice.
What Is Medication Nonadherence?
Medication non-adherence is when a patient, willingly or unwillingly, fails to take medication according to the prescription, which reduces the effectiveness of the treatment. It’s estimated that there are 12,500 preventable deaths annually and $100 billion in medical costs lost to medication non-adherence.
To be considered adherent, a patient must take at least 80% of their medication according to the prescription. This means taking the correct dose at the right time and following up with refills as necessary. It may sound simple, but nonadherence is an intricate problem with many factors at play. A patient needs to have the motivation, knowledge, capacity, and skills to comply with a prescription. Not to mention, they need to be able to pay for it.
Understanding the reasons patients don’t follow prescriptions accurately helps you as a healthcare provider find a solution. Here are some of the most culpable causes of medication nonadherence and how e-prescribe software can help.
Schedule a demo with the NewCropRx team to see how our e-prescribe solutions can benefit your practice.
What Causes Medication Nonadherence?
Simply put, polypharmacy occurs when multiple medications are required to treat a patient. It can be necessary to help a patient keep their diagnoses under control, manage more than one condition simultaneously, or live the most active and comfortable life in old age or with a disability. Though it can help many patients live healthier lives, polypharmacy does come with certain risks.
With each formula a patient puts into their body, the potential for a harmful interaction increases. This can cause variances in drug effectiveness, delay treatments, and even cause discomfort and danger to the patient. A patient may also be seeking treatment at multiple facilities and end up with redundant prescriptions.
An e-prescription tool solves for many of the challenges posed by polypharmacy. E-prescribing allows a doctor to access a patient’s medical history and current prescriptions. With access to such details, you can reduce the chances of prescribing drugs that conflict, prevent overprescribing by checking the patient’s refill history, and facilitate better communication between the pharmacy and your office by adding accurate records to the system.
2. Low Literacy
Health literacy is the degree to which a patient can communicate, process, and acquire health information and make basic health decisions. The risks associated with low literacy levels include:
- A high rate of medication errors
- Misunderstanding medication labels due to complex terminology
- Poor understanding of medication benefits and risks
By introducing e-prescribe, you can solve for health illiteracy. With all of the information at your fingertips, you can walk through a prescription with a patient and make sure they fully understand instructions and have the opportunity to ask questions. Engaging your patients in this way may also uncover valuable information that could help treat them.
Furthermore, language barriers may prevent a patient from fully understanding your instructions or questions. Many e-prescribe systems come stocked with oodles of materials in a world of languages, like NewCrop’s LexiPals leaflets which are available in 18 languages.
3. Side Effects
The experience or fear of side effects can cause patients to stop taking their medication as prescribed or even entirely. Weight gain, nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, skin irritation, headaches, and mood swings are all common unpleasant side effects behind medication nonadherence.
Unfortunately, not taking the medication may also have costly and possibly fatal effects for patients. Doctors and pharmacists are advised to discuss side effects with patients when prescribing medicine to reduce non-adherence.
That’s where e-prescribe comes in. E–prescribe solutions allow you to access patient allergy and side-effect history with medication. The patient records can also show if the patient is at high risk of becoming non-adherent. Therefore, the physician can apply behavioral support tools to help the patient understand the importance of taking their medication properly and follow up frequently.
4. Financial Circumstances
Patients may intentionally skip medication if they have no money to pay for it. Patients without insurance are at higher risk of non-adherence because they pay for drugs out-of-pocket. What’s more, if the patient struggles to pay for meals and essential utilities, they’re even more likely to skip medication.
With an e-prescribe system with real-time benefits information, a physician can check coverage and prescription prices in real-time before sending the order to the pharmacy. If a patient can’t afford the physician’s first choice of medication, they will be able to work together to find a more suitable option at point of care.
5. Other Conditions
In some cases, patients may have an existing circumstance which makes it hard to take medication as prescribed. For example, patients with cognitive impairment such as dementia are at high risk of skipping medication. Without assistance, patients may forget to take their medicine at the right time, get refills, or consume more medication than prescribed. Older patients with chronic illnesses and cognitive impairment are at a higher risk of being hospitalized after non-adherence.
Depression is another example of a common condition which often prevents patients from adhering to their prescriptions. Patients struggling with depression may also struggle with motivation, fail to follow up with refills, and become non-adherent.
Regardless of what your patient may be living with, doctors with access to patient records, symptoms, can better identify and assess possible conditions that may cause nonadherence down the line. They can keep notes and track refills to make sure the patient is getting the treatment they need.
How Your Practice Can Benefit From E-Prescribing
Preventing medication nonadherence is just one way eRx can streamline your practice. Electronic prescriptions reduce errors caused by paper-based prescriptions, provide a reliable database for future prescriptions, offer instant alerts in case of mistakes and conflicting medication, and help physicians track patients through refills. What’s more, your small practice can reduce paperwork costs by adopting an electronic system.
NewCrop provides quality and industry-leading e-prescribe software to help your practice go digital. Contact us today for a demo of our eRx solutions.