Do your employees take the medication given to them correctly?

According to The Journal of Applied Research people are not taking the medications correctly and it is cause for concern:

  • 14 to 21% of patients never fill their original prescriptions.
  • 60% of all patients cannot identify their own medications.
  • 30 to 50% of all patients ignore or otherwise compromise instructions concerning their medication.
  • Hospital costs due to patient noncompliance are estimated at $8.5 billion annually.
  • Approximately 125,000 people with treatable ailments die each year in the USA because they do not take their medication properly. (Albert I. Wertheimer, 2010)

What portion of your employees does not take medication prescribed to them at all or takes it incorrectly and ends up as a catastrophic claim in the hospital? Research shows that people who only take one medication a day have an adherence rate of approximately 80% which drops to 50% for people who take 4 medications per day. The economic impact of non-adherence is estimated to be $100 Billion annually according to PhRMA Statistics on Medication Adherence. (PhRMA, 2011) When your employees use the retail market for healthcare and are given a prescription from that doctor, do they follow instructions? Do they get multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors? Are the instructions clear? If your employees are not taking their medications properly or at all, your company is looking at possible catastrophic claims that could severely impact your bottom line.

As a self-insured employer, you can obviously see the need to monitor and encourage employees to adhere to their medications. This cannot be accomplished by the employer directly or through plan design. Having an on-site medical clinic can help solve this situation by allowing employees more time with a doctor to explain the medication and how it needs to be taken and for how long. The doctor also gives the medication directly to the patient while at the appointment. These two factors alone help increase medication adherence which lessens the amount and severity of a possible catastrophic future claim. We have also found that the clinic doctor typically becomes the primary care physician for most employees who builds a relationship of trust encouraging better overall coordination of medication and therefore overall health.