If you or someone in your family has trouble managing medications, you’re not alone. Studies show that as many as 50 percent of patients don’t take their medications as directed. Not only can non-compliance result in poorer health outcomes, such as more hospitalizations and ER visits, it also costs a lot of money — nearly $100 billion annually in avoidable costs. Medication adherence is a huge health issue and one that Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is actively tackling.
Results from a new six-month randomized control trial in partnership with Penn Medicine and DreamIt Health alum TowerView Health (TowerView) showed that Independence members with chronic illnesses who took multiple prescriptions and who were enrolled in TowerView’s medication adherence program were significantly more adherent than those not in the program. Dreamit Health is a business accelerator program sponsored by Independence Blue Cross and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
TowerView provides patients with prefilled medication trays, each holding a week’s supply of medication. The trays fit inside a pillbox that can read when a medication dose is missed and send text, phone, or email reminders to patients to take their medications. For people without a cell phone, the pillbox is also equipped with lights and alarms to remind them to take their medications. An integrated software platform notifies a Penn Medicine research coordinator when people haven’t taken their medications over a period of time so that they can call to see if they need any additional help.
The study results show that patients correctly filled their medications 98 percent of the time using TowerView, compared to less than 80 percent of the time when not using TowerView. Additionally, all of the individuals in the program taking medication for hypertension and diabetes were still taking their medications as prescribed six months from when they started the pilot. The results were featured at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research 22nd annual meeting in Boston on May 23.