Management of a chronic condition is difficult. These life-long conditions (like diabetes or COPD) require a lot of effort on the part of the patient to track and maintain their health. That’s often easier said than done. Poor medication adherence is harmful for every patient, but it’s especially detrimental for patients with chronic conditions. Consider the risks for diabetes patients who are medication non-adherent:
- Total annual health care spending for a diabetes patient with low medication adherence ($16,499) is almost twice the amount for a patient with high adherence ($8,886). 1
- Diabetes patients with poor medication adherence have a 30% yearly risk of hospitalization, as opposed to a 13% risk for those who accurately follow prescriber guidelines. 2
- Non-adherent diabetes patients have significantly higher mortality rates (12.1%) than similar patients who were adherent (6.7%). 1
(Information pulled from the NEHI’s Improving Patient Medication Adherence brief.)
Research shows that poor medication adherence leads to higher readmissions, higher health care costs, and higher risk of death for patients with chronic conditions.
The solution to this problem is to improve and enhance discharge procedures, including providing patient care after discharge. One of our clients, Gwinnett Medical Center, is doing just that with their diabetes education program. The program works by identifying diabetes patients when they are admitted, and sending an educator to talk with them before they are discharged. The educator covers survival skills, including how to monitor blood glucose. After they are discharged, the patients can attend a seven hour-long course to learn more about how to manage their condition.
Nucleus comes into play at several points during this process. First, Nucleus animations are used by the diabetes educators during the initial consultation at the hospital. The animations visually illustrate for the patient how to use insulin or how to use their glucose monitor.
However, this information is often being presented to patients who are ill (they’re in the hospital, after all). A patient may be too stressed, scared, or confused to fully absorb what they are being told about their condition while they are at the hospital. It’s important for patients, and their families, to have access to information when they get home as well. Through Gwinnett’s online diabetes animation portal, Nucleus’s animations are available 24/7. An additional benefit for Gwinnett, which serves a large Korean population, is that the animations are available in multiple languages.
By using animations to support your efforts to promote patient education and medication adherence, you can empower patients to make good, informed medical decisions. This can lead to reduced readmissions and improved health outcomes.
1: Ho, P.M., Magid, D.J., Masoudi, F.A., et al. (2006). Adherence to cardioprotective medications and mortality among patients with diabetes and ischemic heart disease. BMC Cardiovasc Disord, 6, 48.
2: Sokol, M.C., McGuigan, K.A., Verbrugge, R.R., et al. (2005). Impact of medication adherence on hospitalization risk and healthcare cost. Med Care, 43(6), 521-530.