March 1, 2011


Patient Medication Adherence Tools: A New Version of the Traditional House Call?

As a doctor, I’ve often worried about certain patients who have to manage on their own between visits. Especially patients with chronic diseases that involve complicated medication regimens to follow. Sure, we can answer their questions in person, provide them with printed instructions to take home…but is that enough? I don’t think so, especially considering a study released by the New England Health Institute that concluded non-adherence to meds costs the industry more than $290 billion dollars a year.
That’s preventable spending, folks. And that’s why I’m pleased to be part of a company that is taking this solution head on, and working to incorporate tools to assist patients in keeping to their prescribed medications and therapy.
DrFirst’s acquisition of AdherenceRx forms our new “Patient Innovation” division – and brings new talent and tactics that we strongly believe will save lives. Chris Cresswell, former CEO of AdherenceRx and known in the industry for his focus on evidence-based patient outcome technology, heads up the new group.
Our Patient Innovation division will help extend the physician reach to patients between visits with supportive tools that include behavioral coaching, medication reminders via phone, email, and text; and patient and caregiver support tactics proven to help patients more precisely follow their prescribed medication regimens.
With that astonishing number from the New England Health Institute study in mind, we expect health care plan providers will be one of our primary markets.
As for the actual tools, we very much hope patients just like the ones I’ve wondered about benefit from them soon. Much as we wish we could, few doctors can make house calls anymore, so you can see why I’m excited about new tools to close the information gap between visits. I think these tools will offer something extra, too – a new empowerment for patients struggling with diseases that often leave them feeling powerless.

About pkaufman

Schooled at MIT, Dr. Kaufman nurtured a strong interest in medical informatics while a Bowman Gray School of Medicine faculty member. After entering private practice he founded PiNK software in 1996 to produce EMR software, later becoming DrFirst’s chief medical officer upon its founding. He lectures nationally on various healthcare IT topics, and as a board certified gastroenterologist, he continues a limited clinical practice. Dr. Kaufman is a member of the Health IT Standards Committee, Privacy and Security Workgroup for ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology). Representing the American Gastroenterology Association’s (AGA), Dr. Kaufman is a delegate to the AMA and was the co-chair of the Physicians Electronic Health Record Consortium (PEHRC). He has participated on workgroups at CCHIT (stand-alone e-prescribing), HIMSS (e-prescribing), and NCPDP (e-prescribing).