Technology is assisting doctors in the identification of patients that fail to take their medications. It is also giving the providers of health-care increased opportunities to improve the compliance of patients. Patients that do not pick up or refill needed medications are being flagged by an electronic prescribing system linked to medical records and a digitized pharmacy at Kaiser Permanente Colorado.
The Journal of General Internal Medicine recently published a study showing that the number of patients actually utilizing their medications was higher in an integrated system of health care than in a non-integrated system. The prescriptions for things such as cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure are collected more often in this environment. It was suggested that those providing health care should link the orders directly to the prescriptions that were dispensed in an effort to identify patients that were not obtaining their prescriptions as directed.
There may be denial on the part of patients leaving the hospital overwhelmed after a major health issue that leads them into denial about the importance of taking their medications immediately. The patient should be in contact with the health system on a continual basis to emphasize the importance of taking their medications in addition to having the benefits and side effects thoroughly explained to them when the prescription is written. The long term goals for health and the prevention of future health related crisis should also be discussed with the patient.
This goal is being fulfilled by assisting patients in coping with medication side effects and managing their medications at Kaiser though the facilities clinical pharmacy specialists. The regimens of those on therapies for chronic illnesses that are long term are being adjusted to aid in their adherence when it comes to taking their medications.