It Seems So Simple…

In the CVS/Caremark 2007 TrendsRx report, they present a compelling yet simple story about people with chronic diseases.

“Increasing the effectiveness of adherence interventions may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments.” World Health Organization 2003 Special Report “Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action

If every four people at risk for a chronic condition such as diabetes, hypertension or stroke:

  • One is unaware that he/she is sick
  • Of those who are diagnosed, one in three doesn’t get the prescription filled
  • Of the two who begin therapy, one stops taking medications within six months.
  • One is compliant with prescribed treatment

This clearly points to issues – the need for wellness programs and preventative medicine, the need to link compliance across MDs/Pharmacies/Patients, the need to drive adherence, and finally helping consumers understand why this important. It seems like simple problems to address, but if you’ve tried, you will realize it is a challenge and would be even if incentives were aligned.

[Sources: Caremark data combined with third-party references including the US Census, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the World Health Organization (WHO) among others.  Compiled by Jan Berger, MD, Chief Clinical Officer at Caremark.]

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