Boosting Medication Adherence with AI and EHR

By Healthcare Tech Outlook | Thursday, January 17, 2019

EHR (Electronic Health Record) considered as key to improve  quality of health care is a digital record of patient health information like demographics, medical history, medication, allergies, immunization status, laboratory results, radiology images, age and weight. This information can be shared across information networks to improve quality of care by combining multiple types of clinical data from the system's health records to identify chronically ill patients and prevent hospitalizations among high-risk patients.

EHR with AI: The AI is integrated with EHR systems primarily to improve data discovery, extraction and personalized treatment recommendations.

An AI enabled EHR system nullifies the need to track down a patient's previous paper medical records by storing data accurately and capturing the patient’s condition across time, this reduces a lot of paper work and risk of data replication as the data is stored is a single file which will only modify if additional data is added.

Effects of Medication Non-Adherence: According to recent studies, thirty three to fifty percent of patients do not consume their medications properly, which results to nearly a hundred thousand premature deaths every year. Such non-adherence to medication is the primary cause of uncontrolled hypertension, which in turn is major cause of stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure. Medication non-adherence is an extremely costly problem for the healthcare industry as well .Based on estimates, patients incur around two hundred and ninety billion dollars per year in avoidable costs only due to not taking their prescriptions properly.

Understanding Non-Adherence: According to the patient’s response to prescribed medicine and reason for non-adherence, Medication non-adherence is classified as

• Intentional Non-Adherence

Intentional non-adherence is a rational self decision-making approach by the patient whereby the benefits of treatment are weighed against any adverse effects of the treatment and deciding that non-adherence may reduce the complexities involved.

• Unintentional Non-Adherence

Unintentional non-adherence is where patient is intending to take a medication as instructed but failing to do so for some reasons like forgetfulness and carelessness. Unintentional non-adherence is inclined by patient characteristics, treatment factors, and patient–provider issues

Methods to Boost Medical Adherence: Patient’s behavior towards medication can be changed by using reminders, counseling, reinforcement, education and dosage simplification.

• Reminders Through Apps or Calls

A patient can be reminded to consume medicines at prescribed time through calls, text messages and also applications which can be downloaded with a little to no cost; these apps also include calendar-based alarm reminders with specific dosage that integrates medication lists with specific drug information and pharmacy contact information. Efforts are underway to integrate smartphones with health-monitoring devices that can transmit the health data of patient directly to physicians and hospitals.

• Patient Counseling

Depending upon the type of non-adherence and patient’s behavioral characteristics, a combination of tailored interventions such as patient education, patient self-monitoring of specialized care and encouragement to take medications have shown significant results in improving medication adherence.

• Atomating drug delivery

By automatic drug delivery concepts, medication adherence can be reduced significantly by pre programmed dosing of required drugs. Chronotheraphy has developed a device which is to be worn on the arm by the patient that syncs with a mobile app and monitors nicotine levels in the patient’s body. It can then auto-administer nicotine before cravings kick-in to help stop smoking addiction.

Implants have been developed that can store and release specific doses of drugs over intervals which can vary for months or even years. Each implant contains hundreds of ‘micro-reservoirs’ which can store up to 1 microgram of a drug. The implant can be  activated by a signal that activates the micro-reservoirs to release the drug on a pre- planned dosing schedule. These implants are also equipped with built-in bioelectric sensors which can monitor and release drugs in response to physiological or metabolic   changes in the patient’s body.

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