Monday, February 29, 2016

First Reactions of a Patient at #ePharma16

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'Adherence' and 'compliance' were common themes during this morning's Disruptive Technology Showcase & Innovation Challenge track.

These two terms are some of the most disruptive to patient engagement.

Patients who are taking their medications do often have better health and cost the healthcare system less. Emergency department and urgent care visits go down. The need for multiple visits goes down.

However, according to Greene et al, this can all happen with engaged patients.

As a patient who is engaged, I never forget my medications. I know that if I do, my Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and other medications flare up. I lose time off spent being sick and cannot accomplish what I want or need to do.

Most of the patients that I know who have had issues with adhering to medications do so because of side effects not being heard by their physicians or access issues - most often, funding issues.

Medications are incredibly expensive. My daily shot is over $4,000 for a monthly supply. I'm lucky that I only have to pay $25 (thanks Sobi!).

Personally, the biggest era of my life where I would have had adherence issues would have been in my teenage years. I did not have access to healthcare, but the majority of people I know have had issues during that time period. You want to be cool or spend time with friends, not taking Cystic Fibrosis medication and getting treatments.

There are numerous journal articles and studies that back this up.

If we're going to talk adherence and compliance, we need to acknowledge that many patients do not necessarily have a problem directly with adherence. These are issues that contain nuances that pharma and physicians aren't addressing.

We need to change that.

About the author:

Kirsten Schultz is a health activist and blogger. You can read more about her life living with multiple chronic illnesses on her blog, on Creaky Joints, or follow her on Twitter.  

She will also be joining us this year at ePharma as an official guest blogger sharing insights from the event. 
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