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How to increase patient adherence and engagement through digital tools

 

Patient adherence refers to the degree to which a patient follows the recommended treatment routine and takes drugs regularly without skipping and follow doctors’ advice. Patient adherence is the most important healthcare problem that is costing the economy in the billions.

Similarly, poor patient adherence is considered as the major source of waste for the sector and pharmaceutical companies. Many factors have been identified for the non-adherence of patients including patient disease, drug cost and socio-economic situation of the patient.

Digital Technological advancement
Classical ways of encouraging patient adherence include the usage of pamphlets, handouts or staff making reminder calls to their patients. These ways are time consuming and very costly. In comparison, digital patient adherence tools are cost effective and convenient to use. These digital patient adherence and engagement tools provide the right kind of information to the patient that increases the patient engagement and adherence to the doctor’s prescription and produce better results. Moreover, these tools are best to use in hard-to-reach populations.

Patient adherence is increased with the help of digital technology by sending the timely, discreet interventions that encourages patients to follow the doctor’s prescription without thinking that they are being forced or manipulated. These digital technologies make contact with patient at their preferred involvement level. Patient adherence digital tools include, but not only limit to, mobile applications, smart packaging and usage of smart pills, remote patient monitoring, shared web games, call centers and quick diagnostic tools.

Mobile applications work as an enhanced medicine calendar and reminder. With the help of these tools, patient can keep track of their intake, heart rate and glucose level Some pharmaceutical companies have invented smart pills that contain a digestible chip. This chip shares the time of medicine taken and shares it with the patient through a sensor and tells the patient about the next timing of medicine intake. This information can be shared with the doctor to increase patient engagement and adherence via internet. On the other hand, smart packaging includes packaging with compartments for medicine routine which flashes and gives information to the patient and shares the patient adherence information to the doctor. Interactive games teach patients about their condition and increase engagement. Video surveillance has also helped health experts to reach populations. People who prefer human involvement can call dedicated line and receive information from experts by using tool free numbers.

Measure
The digitalization of patient records, their engagement and adherence can help the experts to measure the success of these technologies. When healthcare observers have access to patients’ adherence records, they can start to understand when the patient ceased to follow suggestive drug and can dig deep to uncover the causes of this cessations behavior. By tackling the root causes of patient non-adherence, experts can create different strategies and programs to improve the health of the patient. Electronic health records (EHR) will act as the key component that helps to increase patient engagement and adherence in hard-to-reach populations.

 

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