Interventions to keep patients with common chronic conditions adherent to medication is extraordinarily cost-effective, according to a study from the CVS Health Research Institute.
The study published in The American Journal of Managed Care found an even greater opportunity for cost-savings if medication adherence resources are focused on patients with three or more chronic co-morbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. A preliminary analysis shows that payers could save approximately $38-$63 million per 100,000 members by focusing resources on these specific patient populations.
"There is extensive evidence supporting the relationship between better adherence, improved health outcomes and reduced health care costs, but efforts to improve medication adherence, while effective, can be costly," said Troyen Brennan, medical doctor, chief medical officer of CVS Health.
"We are now trying to better understand how to maximize health care resources to have the greatest impact on adherence and provide the maximum benefit for payers and patients. This research indicates that targeting adherence interventions to patients based upon their adherence history and co-morbidities would result in greater cost-savings and a better use of health care resources."
Researchers reviewed de-identified medical and pharmacy claims data of more than 1.2 million patients with at least one of three chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, over a two year period, according to CVS Health.
The study found that the best strategy was to focus on patients who are adherent and keep them adherent. For example, a patient with hypertension who was initially adherent, but became non-adherent, spent an additional $2,663 on medical care.
In addition, the researchers found that the number of co-morbid conditions directly influenced the magnitude of cost savings when adherence behavior improved. In fact, patients with three or more chronic conditions had up to seven times greater savings than patients with one or two conditions.
"Short-term changes in adherence can have a meaningful and immediate impact on health care costs, and this kind of research is important in helping our clients understand the value of medication adherence and where the greatest cost-savings opportunities exist for their member populations when it comes to maintaining medication adherence," said Jonathan Roberts, pharmacy benefits manager of CVS Health and president of CVS Caremark.
"We have a number of analytic tools that we use with our clients and offer adherence programs tailored for specific member populations to help improve health outcomes and deliver significant value for our clients."
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