The costs of medication nonadherence — both in terms of lost lives and a massive waste of therapeutic resources — have weighed heavily on patients and health plan payers, and made adherence efforts a priority for most pharmacy retailers. Technology companies are keeping pace with new software offerings and automated compliance packaging solutions to support those efforts to fight the $300 billion that nonadherence is estimated to cost the healthcare system annually.
For pharmacy technology providers, a fundamental mission has become helping retail pharmacies in their urgent quest to complete their evolution from pill counting and basic medication counseling to being fully engaged, frontline patient care providers. That includes supporting the drive by pharmacists to more fully integrate with the collaborative healthcare team now coming into focus.
As pharmacists embrace efficiency and chains make moves to engage patients digitally artificial intelligence and predictive analytics continue to make steady inroads. Technology experts assert that healthcare providers can improve outcomes by better utilizing data provided by EHRs, insurance claims and even fitness monitoring. Advocates believe that such tools as IBM Watson Health Cloud, which uses data from multiple sources, can improve outcomes for patients with chronic conditions.
Retail pharmacy is being squeezed.
Even as an aging population and expanded insurance coverage under Obamacare propel rising dispensing rates and add to pharmacists’ workloads, they’re being called on to practice “at the top of their license” by filling an ever-expanding role as front-line patient-care specialists and fully engaged members of collaborative care provider networks.