Cardinal Health announces new platform to improve drug adherence
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Cardinal Health announced this week that it had launched a new platform aimed at addressing medication adherence challenges.
The platform, which the company is calling Outcomes, combines several existing businesses to deliver tools for medication therapy management, digital patient engagement and telepharmacy.
"Outcomes is the latest example of how we’re developing and investing in technology solutions and actionable data tools to enable more meaningful, cost-effective and outcomes-driven connections in healthcare," Mike Kaufmann, CEO of Cardinal Health, said in a statement.
WHY IT MATTERS
Medication nonadherence presents a significant issue for the health industry and patients.
"Each year, medication non-adherence costs the U.S. healthcare system $528 billion and contributes to approximately 275,000 avoidable patient deaths," said Victor Crawford, CEO of the pharmaceutical segment at Cardinal.
The reasons for the problem can vary – which means the strategy for addressing it should also be multifaceted.
According to its website, Outcomes offers a wide array of services aimed at pharmacists, pharmacy companies and payers.
It brings together three different companies: OutcomesMTM, mscripts and Telepharm.
OutcomesMTM connects members with pharmacists to improve care; mscripts allows patients to refill prescriptions with their pharmacies and send themselves reminders through preferred digital avenues; and Telepharm enables remote counseling and prescription verification. Through this unified platform, the company says, pharmacies can connect clinical services, patient engagement and billing for a more streamlined workflow.
Outcomes also recently added MyScheduling, which enables patients to schedule and change appointments – including COVID-19 vaccine – at their local pharmacy, and could significantly reduce administrative tasks for pharmacies.
"COVID-19 has accelerated the need for innovative technology solutions, and we’re focused on creating platforms that help our customers serve patients better, now and in the future," said Kaufmann.
THE LARGER TREND
A number of health systems have turned to technology to improve medication adherence, employing a wide variety of tactics. For example, in 2018, Mount Sinai Health System turned to financial incentives: patients in a pilot program could earn a few dollars a day for taking their pills on time.
That same year, systems in Massachusetts and North Carolina used tools such as connected in-home medication dispensers to try and improve adherence.
But these efforts have their potential downsides too: Some patient advocates worry that increased innovations may put privacy at risk, especially when insurance companies get involved.
ON THE RECORD
"By combining our pharmacy service capabilities into one unified platform, Outcomes will enable pharmacies to deliver more comprehensive services to their patients, resulting in improved health and greater access to healthcare services for patients nationwide," said Crawford.