Why Medication Adherence?
Most of us go about our daily lives without much thought to the issue of medication adherence – unless you or a loved one need to follow a strict schedule of prescription drugs and/or treatments. According to various demographic health studies, the lack of adherence to medication represents one of the highest contributors to mortality rates – it’s right up there alongside heart disease and cancer. Coupled with this is the growing concern for returns on investment and expenditures by social programs, private insurers and/or families who subsidize prescription medication and healthcare costs.
Social and Economic Impacts
From an economic perspective, improved controls for medication adherence of the elderly means healthier senior citizens – thereby less healthcare costs for this age group. On the other hand, some economists may suggest extending life expectancy also increases healthcare costs. In our opinion, this perspective is missing the point and advocated by only certain “bean counters ” with special interests. Applying Draconian economic perspectives to this area will only serve to compound the problem. Stagnation or ignorance of the issues in medication adherence as a basic requirement of a nation’s well-being and social progress is incalculable. Sadly, it is frequently only through an individuals’ personal experience that the importance of medication adherence controls become fully apparent – and usually at a high level of personal cost.
In reality, we are all economically and socially affected by a lack of medication adherence. Its associated healthcare costs can impact us either directly or indirectly. In the case of medication adherence for diagnosed mentally ill patients, consequences can also be socially dire. The truth is that a staggering number of outpatients are missing basic support necessary for them to adhere to prescription drugs and treatments. On the surface this may not sound like much of an issue, until it is recognized that many of those affected are either elderly outpatients living alone or in remote areas – or they simply do not have the mental capacity to take medication as prescribed. The outcome can all too often become life-threatening for some of those individuals or possibly highly dangerous for others in the vicinity of patients with otherwise psychotic tendencies.
Solutions and Innovations
There has been expanding focus for innovation in healthcare amongst technology behemoths and smaller, creative system integrators alike. In recent months, a rising number of cost effective healthcare options have emerged which are becoming more widely accessible to the masses. Most of these solutions utilize devices from technology built around telemetry – or connected mobile devices based on Internet of Things (IoT), including wearables such as Fitbit or the Apple Watch. These can monitor and report on heart rate, movement and a host of other medical conditions, making full use of “at home” devices in a “real world” application. For example; telemetry or IoT-enabled medication dispensers may be used by outpatients at home, in clinics or at senior residencies and other institutions. Such devices coupled with wearable technology, can monitor or alarm on patient vitals and bridge the gap of information flow between patient, care giver, physician and pharmacist, in real-time. This fast-growing area of innovation in mHealth (mobile Healthcare) or eHealth (electronic Healthcare) may offer many “opt-in” possibilities for a multitude of Information Technology and telecommunications solution providers;
• Branded IoT “at home” devices and their peripherals along with healthcare-related products and new Smart Wear devices/Apps.
• Service opportunities for Wi-Fi, mobile and national network provisions for each enabled “at home” device.
• Smartphone Application development and enhancements or add-ons.
• Cloud Service provisions for data flows, data mining, content and knowledge management.
• Unified Communications or Contact Center activities for real time analytics, alarm responses and notification solutions.
• Upsell and cross-sell opportunities for pharmacies, health organization and insurance agencies.
• Healthcare-specific Big Data analytics from the mass of biometric data being gathered.
SOFTEL’s mHealthcare Team
Our mHealthcare team provides an IoT medication adherence platform embracing the integration of devices; using a combination of collaboration technologies across a wide range of healthcare applications. These applications combine access, data consolidation, security, diagnostics and enhanced communications. The end result is a unique value proposition for each of our business partners, while producing customized experiences or solutions for their customers or patients. These may include; care givers, senior residences, hospitals, physicians, pharmacists and healthcare professionals in tele-medicine contact/command centers. Why not connect with the SOFTEL mHealthcare Team today and see how we can support your enteprise?