Dramatic Increase in Prescription Drug Use Leads to Rising Health Care Costs

Alex Bettencourt - October 20, 2010

Faced with more complex medication regimes, Americans struggle to take the right medication, at the right time, in the right dose. New mobile health tools offer solutions for increased compliance.

ORINDA, Calif. – September 25, 2010 - Almost half of the U.S. population reported taking a prescription drug in the past month according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Without effective medication management tools the risk of noncompliance and higher health care costs increases.

The CDC also discovered the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44% to 48% over the past decade. The use of two or more drugs escalated from 25% to 31% and the use of five or more drugs rose from 6% to 11%.

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll reported one out of three adults taking a prescription drug on a regular basis did not follow their doctor-recommended course of treatment and two thirds of adults simply forgot to take their medication.

“The more pills we take, the more we run the risk of missed doses, confusing dosages, and higher spending,” said Pamela Swingley, CEO and founder of RememberItNow! - eHealth Made Easy, “With the cost of medication noncompliance ranging from $170 billion to $292 billion, we need to look towards mobile medication management solutions that are  seamless and can fit in with our everyday lifestyle.”

Reminders Bring Resolution
One of the most promising solutions for improving medication noncompliance are medication reminders delivered via cell phone. Nearly eighty-two percent of Americans have a cell phone with text messaging capabilities. Several studies have shown that text-based reminders can increase compliance and reduce health care costs.

The 2003 Division of Medical Services reported the average monthly Medicaid costs for diabetic patients with reminders was $949.00 compared to $1,233.00 without reminders. According to the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatric liver transplant recipients had a 69% medication compliance rate with SMS reminders vs. 48% compliance rate without SMS reminders.

How Medication Reminder Services Can Help
RememberItNow! sends SMS text messages, push, and email reminders for medications and events to a user’s cell phone. Messages can be customized with special instructions, adjusted for time zones, and can be turned on or off for each activity.

RememberItNow! user, Ray Garr, reports that the service has greatly improved his health. “RememberItNow! has literally been a life saver for me. I get very busy at work, and remembering my pills isn’t a priority. Getting reminders keeps me on my schedule, and it’s one less thing I have to worry about.”

In addition to improving medication compliance, RememberItNow! helps users take control of their overall health with a private care community, a personal health record, and mobile access from any type of smart phone. With RememberItNow! Mobile, users have their medical details at hand. They can access their daily schedule and medical history, enter readings and make journal updates anywhere, at anytime.

“While we may be taking more medications than ever before, we also have access to new technologies that empowers us to take control of our health,” Pamela Swingley continues. “Alarm watches, reminder gizmos, unwieldly pillboxes, and yellow sticky notes, are on their way out.”

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