Technology Solutions for Improved Medication Compliance, Patient Engagement, and Reduced Physician Burnout

March 29, 2023

Article Summary

Improving medication compliance requires a strategy that includes embedded refill management and patient engagement technology. Automated medication compliance checkpoints and prescription refill reminders throughout a patient’s care journey eases the call burden on the physicians and pharmacists.

medication compliance, doctor contemplating work

Physician burnout is an epidemic in the U.S. healthcare system, and according to the American Medical Association, nearly 63 percent of physicians report signs of burnout, such as emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, at least once per week. While many factors contribute to burnout, the burnout epidemic is often associated with system inefficiencies, administrative burdens, and increased regulation and technology requirements.

When it comes to sustaining patient health outcomes, medication compliance and adherence to medication regimens is critically important, especially as providers manage patients with complex care needs and multiple medications. Healthcare organizations have quickly adopted strategies to gain efficiencies in their medication management workflows, like embedded refill management technology linked to an EMR. Clinicians benefit from alleviating repetitive tasks that may lead to fatigue and burnout. 

Improved medication compliance checkpoints, automated prescription refills, and reminders throughout a patient’s care journey can ease the burden on the physician, pharmacy, and support staff if administered in a workflow-minded process.

Gain Traction on Disease Management with Health Catalyst Embedded Refills™   

Technology can assist with cohort management of specific at-risk populations. Disease tracking and management for patients with diabetes become data-driven when medication documentation is accessible within the EMR care coordination workflows and databases, such as patient registries. The Health Catalyst Embedded Refills™ solution optimizes the work effort of physicians, nurses, or pharmacists by reducing unnecessary errors such as medication mix-ups, thus reducing the need for intervention.

Embedded Refills brings efficiencies and insights to provider workflows in the following ways.

  • Links relevant medication to a specific diagnosis during the patient encounter.
  • Provides the opportunity for clinicians to easily track and measure comorbidities that may be the result of medications’ side effects.
  • Linking multiple diagnoses ties medication adherence efforts with quality and compliance monitoring.

Missed medications captured and used as a trigger to identify care management opportunities or to risk reduction analysis of targeted populations is useful for care managers and for quality improvement teams addressing disease-specific registry cohorts.

Health systems equipped with sophisticated data and analytic systems gain insights from the reports from automated refill systems within the EMR and are well-positioned to add other data and demographics for further analysis. For example, clinicians can identify the number of patients with a hypertension diagnosis and on a specific medication, while being monitored for diabetes. Such refined analysis further enhances the use of pharmacy data to manage patient populations.

Leveraging technology to guide compliance monitoring and ease the process of refilling prescriptions is critical for patient adherence to prescription recommendations. Embedded Refills also provides the transparency clinicians need to better manage patients’ overall health.

View Dr. Welsh’s on-demand webinar, Automated Medication Compliance Tools for the Provider and Patient.

Engage Patients with Digital Health Tools for Medication Compliance

Combining workflow-friendly medication management with patient engagement technology is an effective strategy to reduce patient communication tasks for the healthcare provider. Twistle by Health Catalyst™ , the leading patient engagement software platform, delivers timely outreach via text to alert patients of needed office visits, lab tests, and health maintenance screenings. Twistle simplifies patient outreach and reduces the burden of follow-up calls, visit scheduling, and lab test reminders for providers and staff.

Patient reminders and text messages include instructions for the next office visit, alerts for lab tests and health management screenings, and prompt important tasks for patients, such as reminders to bring blood pressure tracking information for provider review. In addition, Twistle:

  1. Helps with closing care gaps.
  2. Improves medication adherence.
  3. Captures data for disease management.
  4. Increases value-based care opportunities for the health system or provider.

Automated refill capabilities through Embedded Refills. combined with patient engagement technology augments the work of physicians, nurses, and pharmacists by supporting long-term outcomes tracking. Patient reminders for upcoming visits decrease no-shows through ongoing communication and increase compliance with visits. Personalized messaging delivered through text removes language, geographic, ethnicity, or age barriers that may be present with traditional communication methods such as phone calls or direct mail. Care coordination will improve among high-risk groups or across rural patient populations who may face limited access to high-speed internet or other technology.

Alleviate Physician Burnout and Improve Patient Engagement

Automated medication management and digital patient engagement tools are designed to advance equitable access to medications and close care gaps. Medication compliance efforts trigger appropriate chronic care and disease management actions by patients and care teams which accelerates other quality-based initiatives for the healthcare organization.

An effective medication compliance strategy saves valuable time, thereby reducing physician and allied care provider burnout; this can be achieved through the following steps:

  1. Adopt technology that is workflow friendly and integrated into the EMR
  2. If new to medication compliance technology, start with one clinic to test the effectiveness and impact on a smaller subset of the patient population, or pick a specific disease management focus
  3. Incorporate patient outreach via text reminders to improve medication access and patient engagement between clinical appointments.
  4. Leverage data to track and measure results and implement best practices across targeted patient populations
  5. Assess patient and physician satisfaction for ongoing continuous improvement efforts

When the obstacles of medication access and timely communication are removed, clinicians can open communication pathways with customer-centric outreach that brings value to the patient’s health and becomes sustainable for the entire healthcare team.

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