DrFirst Healthcare Technology Blog

Prescription Abandonment: It’s Not What the Doctor Ordered

November 21, 2012

Prescription Abandonment: It's Not What the Doctor Ordered

Prescription abandonment is a growing concern in the medical community. With more and more doctors having digital access to patient medication history data through e-prescribing and electronic health record systems, it is becoming increasingly clear that patients never pick up prescribed medications.

Research shows that there is a direct correlation between prescription abandonment and  an increase in out-of-pocket patient costs. In addition, other factors — such as intolerable side effects and lack of patient understanding of the necessity of the drug — all result in medication non-adherence. These factors frequently result in unnecessary office visits and hospitalization, high re-admission rates, therapeutic failure, unnecessary deterioration in health, and the subsequent increase in the cost of health care.

Further research has shown that prescription abandonment causes up to 125,000 avoidable deaths per year and adds roughly $2,000 in additional healthcare costs per person in the U.S. When all the associated costs are combined, a 2011 study calculated that the cost of medication non-adherence — simply put: patients not taking their medications as prescribed by their physician — is almost $300 billion each year, more than 7% of all U.S. government spending on healthcare.

Physicians are no longer limited to interpreting medication history results. Now physicians can offer  patients financial assistance to combat the strain on their wallets. With Patient Advisor services offered by DrFirst through Rcopia, Rcopia-MU, as well as through its EHR/EMR partners, physicians can now quickly view a patient report that provides instant insight into the level of medication adherence and prescription fill rates of patients. This way physicians can identify any gaps in care and effectively consult with the patient about the importance of sticking to their treatment. Providers can also provide clinical, financial, and behavior support such as patient education , prescription and co-pay savings, patient care plans, and lifestyle engagement programs. Patient Advisor is designed to help providers assist patients in overcoming any obstacles in taking their medications.

DrFirst allows physicians the capability to extend the care provided to the patient beyond the office visit and ensure that patient’s stick to “Just what the doctor ordered”.

You can download a free copy of our prescription abandonment infographic here.

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About the Author

Peter Kaufman CMO

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).

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