Worksite Health and Medication Adherence

By July 10, 2009Commentary

A recent study published in the American Journal for Managed Care finds that patients who receive medical care and prescriptions at a worksite clinic and pharmacy had higher rates of compliance with their drug regimens than patients who received care and prescriptions in the general community.  (AJMC Article)  The group of patients who used worksite care were ten percent more compliant, across all classes of medication.  Compliance was measured primarily by filling medication and the study did not attempt to monitor actual taking of pharmaceuticals.

Medication adherence has been a focus of much study and concern, because failure to take prescribed drugs is fairly common and can lead to increases in other health costs.  Reasons for non-adherence include cost, convenience, side-effects, dosing frequency and prescription duration.  Some demographic variables are also associated with rates of adherence.  Cost issues have been addressed by many health plans adopting value-based benefit designs which eliminate or reduce copays for prescriptions to treat chronic diseases, for example.  Other programs have been implemented to encourage patients to comply with prescriptions.  The authors hypothesize that one critical factor is the extent to which a patient internalizes the importance of taking the drug.  This internalization is facilitated by interaction with a trusted physician or other provider who educates the patient and emphasizes the need to be compliant with prescriptions.  The authors further speculate that worksite providers may have more time to spend with patients and may develop a closer relationship with them than do some community providers.  In any event, the study is supportive of continuing efforts to bring various health services to the workplace.

Kevin Roche

Author Kevin Roche

The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry through Roche Consulting, LLC. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements and may be reached at khroche@healthy-skeptic.com.

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