Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sick Days Due to Chronic Conditions

One of our pharma salespeople brought me the USA Today front page for the weekend of April 4-6. Not for the Final Four update, but for the snapshot of Sick Days. I am not that technically inclined to post to the snapshot picture, but it was a graph that charted the "numbers of work days lost per year to affected workers of these chronic conditions":

Depression/Mental Illness: 26
Cancer: 17
Respiratory Disorders: 15
Asthma: 12
Migraine: 11

One of the main points of medication adherence we stress at Intelecare is how it affects not only the patient but all stakeholders. In this case, the employer is loosing work days due to chronic conditions which could be controlled with the proper medical adherence. Also, when their employees return to work, they will most likely need a day or two to adjust and get back on track.

I will not approach cancer, as there are to many variables, but patients who suffer from depression/mental illness have horrible adherence rates, and fall into relapse due to not taking their medications properly. When they then react to an episode by taking their medication, they start a whole new cycle, waiting for the drug/s to take effect.

Patients who suffer from respiratory disorders and asthma generally do not take their medications unless they have an attack, when it is too late. As for migraine sufferers, there are preventative medications that, for the most part, are not taken as prescribed. My wife and father-in-law suffer crippling migraines, but refuse to take their medications, instead, to live with the pain and lie in bed for a day or two until their reactive medication takes effect.

Medication adherence is the biggest drug problem today. I hate to beat the statistic drum, but $177 BILLION annually in unnecessary healthcare costs and lost revenue is a lot of money. With employers' investing money and resources into wellness and preventative health programs, EAPs and the like, it is time for them to address medication adherence.

84% of non-adherent patients cite simple forgetfulness as the reason for not taking their medications. That is up from 64% two years ago. It is time for a change in medication adherence. It is time for Intelecare. Sometimes a reminder is all you need.

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