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High costs seen in medication nonadherence: study


By Jean DerGurahian
Posted: August 11, 2009 - 3:00 pm ET
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The New England Healthcare Institute has released a study showing that patients who do not adhere to their prescriptions cost the healthcare system about $290 billion a year.

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One-third to one-half of patients—especially those with chronic illnesses—improperly follow prescriptions, leaving themselves vulnerable to hospitalizations and medical risk. The larger spending could be avoided if patients adhered to medication orders given by physicians, according to NEHI's report, Thinking Outside the Pillbox: A System-wide Approach to Improving Patient Medication Adherence for Chronic Disease.

The institute in June launched an initiative aimed at improving medication adherence. Its latest report, developed out of that initiative, also outlines four efforts healthcare stakeholders could undergo to encourage improved adherence, including creating health teams; engaging and educating patients; implementing payment reform; and using information technology to ensure complete medication data are shared.

A Consumer Reports survey in March found adults typically don't comply with prescriptions in order to save money.

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