Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wikipedia Entry for Compliance (Medicine)

I was reading Todd Defren's PR Squared blog post today about Wikipedia, and if a company should or should not create an entry for themselves. It got me thinking more about Wikipedia, and using it as a go to source for information.

I do not use Wikipedia regularly, however I find increasingly useful for trivial information, such as who is Lonelygirl15, since I missed all the YouTube ballyhoo.

I think UGC (user generated content) is fantastic, however I do not think it is always an authoritative source. With that in mind, I looked up the my favorite terms: medication adherence, medication non-adherence, medication compliance and medication non-compliance. The only listing was Compliance (Medicine).

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Compliance (or Adherence) is a medical term that is used to indicate a patient's correct following of medical advice. Most commonly it is a patient taking medication (drug compliance), but may also apply to use of surgical appliances such as compression stockings, chronic wound care, self-directed physiotherapy exercises, or attending counselling or other courses of therapy.

Patients may not accurately report back to healthcare workers because fear of possible embarrassment, being chastised, or seeming to be ungrateful for a doctor's care.

Causes for poor compliance include:
• Forgetfulness
• Prescription not collected or not dispensed
• Purpose of treatment not clear
• Perceived lack of effect
• Real or perceived side-effects
• Instructions for administration not clear
• Physical difficulty in complying (e.g. opening medicine containers, handling small tablets, swallowing difficulties, travel to place of treatment)
• Unattractive formulation, such as unpleasant taste
• Complicated regimen
• Cost of drugs"

The listing goes on to discuss "Adherence: An estimated half of those for whom medicines are prescribed do not take them in the recommended way. Until recently this was termed "non-compliance", and was sometimes regarded as a manifestation of irrational behavior or willful failure to observe instructions, although forgetfulness is probably a more common reason. But today health care professionals prefer to talk about "adherence" to a regimen rather than "compliance"...."

And "Drug Compliance: It is estimated that only 50% of patients suffering from chronic diseases in developed countries follow treatment recommendations...."

And "Concordance: Concordance is a current UK NHS initiative to involve the patient in the treatment process and so improve compliance...."

Overall it is a great listing. Wikipedia (rather the authors & editors) address the causes, the percentage of patients who are non-adherent, and the differences between adherence and compliance and concordance.

I guess I will have to live the listing title: Compliance (Medicine).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today's Abstract

Today's medication adherence related abstract, "Supporting the Patient's Role in Guideline Compliance: A Controlled Study", comes from The American Journal of Managed Care, and even has a link to the full article.

Objective: Clinical messages alerting physicians to gaps in the care of specific patients have been shown to increase compliance with evidence-based guidelines. This study sought to measure any additional impact on compliance when alerting messages also were sent to patients.

Study Design: For alerts that were generated by computerized clinical rules applied to claims, compliance was determined by subsequent claims evidence (eg, that recommended tests were performed). Compliance was measured in the baseline year and the study year for 4 study group employers (combined membership >100,000) that chose to add patient messaging in the study year, and 28 similar control group employers (combined membership >700,000) that maintained physician messaging but did not add patient messaging.

Methods: The impact of patient messaging was assessed by comparing changes in compliance from baseline to study year in the 2 groups. Multiple logistic regression was used to control for differences between the groups. Because a given member or physician could receive multiple alerts, generalized estimating equations with clustering by patient and physician were used.

Results: Controlling for differences in age, sex, and the severity and types of clinical alerts between the study and control groups, the addition of patient messaging increased compliance by 12.5% (P <.001). This increase was primarily because of improved responses to alerts regarding the need for screening, diagnostic, and monitoring tests.

Conclusion: Supplementing clinical alerts to physicians with messages directly to their patients produced a statistically significant increase in compliance with the evidence-based guidelines underlying the alerts.

(Am J Manag Care. 2008;14(11):737-744)

I am always pleased when another study confirms that patient messaging improves patient compliance. Especially with the rising cost of healthcare, every preventative step should be taken to ensure patients have the best data about their care and their risks.

It is troubling however that the patient messaging was in the form of letters that had a 10 business day delay from the doctor getting the notification "to allow physicians to contact their patients first, if they choose, or to indicate via fax or phone that there are clinical reasons why alerts do not apply (eg, an allergy not revealed by claims data)". This study did take place in 2006, and I am surprised they did not use email messaging as well.

Here is an exampled of the alert for the doctor:
Your patient is at least 55 years old, has claims evidence for diabetes, has an additional cardiovascular disease risk factor (eg, history of cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, microalbuminuria), and has no claims evidence for an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. The American Diabetes Association recommends that, in these patients, with or without hypertension, an ACE inhibitor be considered to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. If your patient fits this clinical profile, and if not already done or contraindicated, consider starting an ACE inhibitor and titrating the dosage as tolerated.

Here is an example of the patient alert:
• Our data show that you may have diabetes.
• If you have diabetes, it may help you to take a type of drug
called an ACE inhibitor.
• You may not be taking this drug.
• Ask your doctor if you should take an ACE inhibitor.

Now with that 10 day delay the doctor can reach out to the patient and suggest a medication. The reinforcement from the health plan helps the patient adhere with the doctor's recommendation. Same applies for screenings, diagnostic and monitoring tests.

This also raises the question: "My insurer told me to get this test or take this pill. If I do not do it, will they deny claims in the future?"

Would you have this fear if your health plan was monitoring your adherence based on claims data? Would you prefer a 3rd party to deliver these messages?

Please let me know your thoughts.


Phillips Develops The iPill

Sorry to have been off on posting over the last week. I came across this article in Reuters that I found interesting, and slightly scary. We want develop the best method for increasing medication adherence, but is this the way?

What do you think?

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch group Philips has developed an "intelligent pill" that contains a microprocessor, battery, wireless radio, pump and a drug reservoir to release medication in a specific area in the body.

Philips, one of the world's biggest hospital equipment makers, said Tuesday that the "iPill" capsule, measures acidity with a sensor to determine its location in the gut, and can then release drugs where they are needed.

Delivering drugs to treat digestive tract disorders such as Crohn's disease directly to the location of the disease means doses can be lower, reducing side effects, Philips said.

While capsules containing miniature cameras are already used as diagnostic tools, those lack the ability to deliver drugs, Philips said.

The "iPill" can also measure the local temperature and report it wirelessly to an external receiver.

The company plans to present the "iPill" at the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) in Atlanta this month.

The iPill is a prototype but suitable for serial manufacturing, Philips said.

(Reporting by Niclas Mika; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Great American Health 2.0 Motorcycle Tour

Thanks to ScribeMedia for allowing me to embed this great video from David Kibbe, Director of the Center for Health Information Technology, American Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Kibbe hit the road earlier this year to produce (with Scribe) this documentary about Health 2.0. He rode his Honda Gullwing up and down the East Coast, interviewing some of the players in the H20 space, many of which I have blogged about. Included are interviews with the CEOs of MedHelp, Healthline, Hello Health, Patient's Like Me, American Well and change:healthcare.

Two other interviews I enjoyed: New York Times Well blogger Tara Parker-Pope who doesn't like the term Health 2.0 because it connotes a software package; and a CVS Minute Clinic RN who is not only providing patients with quick diagnoses in the pharmacy, but also encouraging and setting-up PHRs for them.

Google also makes an appearance in a quick conversation about, what else, Google Health.