Two hospitals turn to medication adherence tech to serve patients with mental illness, at-risk populations

Partners HealthCare, Triad Healthcare undertake separate initiatives focused on reducing costs with by delivering notifications to clinicians about patients not complying with treatment regimens.
By Bernie Monegain
01:15 PM
medication adherence technology

Lynn Community Health Center in Lynn, Massachusetts. Credit: Google Maps

Lynn, Massachusetts-based Lynn Community Health Center will work with Partners Connected Health of Partners HealthCare to implement in-home medication dispensing technology. The goal is to help improve treatment plan compliance among patients with mental illness.

Triad HealthCare Network in Greensboro, N.C., will also incorporate Philips medication dispensing device in a program designed to improve medication adherence among patients with chronic disease within the Medicare Advantage population.

Philips’ monitored in-home dispensing device includes pre-packaged, unit-dose medications from mail order and specialty pharmacies, a clinician portal and a caregiver app. It gives clinicians, pharmacists and caregivers daily notifications of non-adherent patients to drive down costs of medical complications related to non-adherence.

[Also: Mount Sinai boosts medication adherence through app that pays patients to take pills]

The Lynn Community Health Center program, funded by the Mass Health Policy Commission, will specifically target patients enrolled in MassHealth Primary Care Clinician plans who are over 20 years old with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.

Inadequate medication adherence among this population is one of the main causes for inpatient admissions and emergency department visits.

Patients with complex mental illness are often on intricate treatment regimens with five or more prescriptions, and the behavioral challenges associated with their illnesses contribute to the likelihood of uncoordinated care and medication non-adherence.

Through a multi-faceted approach of intensive care coordination, clinical pharmacy consultation and Philips connected in-home medication dispenser, LCHC's study aims to demonstrate a reduction in overall healthcare utilization by 15 percent, home health utilization by 40 percent, and both acute inpatient and outpatient utilization by 10 percent by the end of November 2018. By focusing on the highest risk patients, LCHC projects a savings of $1.4 million by the completion of the program.

Separately, Triad HealthCare Network's program aims to enroll patients covered under three leading Medicare Advantage Part D health plans, with the goal of improving medication adherence rates. Patients within this population tend to be the highest utilizers of their health systems and often live with chronic conditions that require complex prescription regimens.

The success of Triad HealthCare Network's pilot program will be determined by performance indicators such as reduced costs of care and increased rates of medication adherence.

"Medication non-adherence costs the U.S. health system more than $310 billion every year, and it results in hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths annually,” Derek Ross, who leads the population health management unit at Philips, said in a statement. 

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