Consider these dismal statistics:
A large part of the problem is that physicians—the ones who are best positioned to influence patient behavior—have not been included in the adherence effort. They simply do not have the time to handle the extra workload, and they often lack the tools and incentives to make adherence programs a priority. In the meantime, health plans, employers, and the government have already spent more than $200 million, according to the Institute of Medicine, on disease management and medication adherence/compliance efforts that largely work "around" physicians rather than with them. And, as the numbers show, those efforts are failing.
EMR Adherence Model The EMR is a wireless point-of-care technology that automates the most common physician activities, including prescribing. This technology allows doctors to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically, eliminating many of the errors that result when pharmacists misinterpret physicians' handwritten prescriptions.
It also reduces the growing burden on physicians' time because it eliminates the need for multiple callbacks from pharmacists to clarify prescriptions and dosages. That keeps doctors on schedule and reduces healthcare costs. In fact, automated prescribing has reduced prescribing errors by 95 percent and lowered hospital costs by an amazing 13 percent, according to the Health Care Quality Modernization, Cost Reduction, and Quality Improvement Act (Healthcare Modernization Act), legislation introduced in May by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D, Massachusetts).
The patient takes the "information prescription" home and uses a code to enroll in the program through the internet at home, the office, or anywhere with an internet connection. The programs would then allow patients, for example, to participate in three- to five-minute interactive education experiences, sign up for e-mail or direct-mail medication reminder and prescription refill alerts, or receive coupons for medication refills.
That model would finally place the nation's physicians where they belong—at the center of adherence programs. And because this solution is embedded into the care plan, it becomes an extension of the physician-patient relationship and helps foster an ongoing communication.