Ensuring proper medication adherence is essential for managing chronic conditions and maintaining overall health and well-being. However, barriers can result in non-adherence—especially for patients with more complex medication regimens.
What makes a regimen complex? Both the number of medications and the ease and frequency of administration play into the complexity of a drug regimen. However, research shows that regimen simplification strategies can effectively improve medication adherence. Let’s discuss five strategies for simplifying complex medication regimens:
1. Combine multiple drugs into one dosage form.
One way to simplify a medication regimen is by combining multiple medications into a single dosage form—or a “polypill”—to make it easier for patients to take their medications on time and as frequently as prescribed.
Recent studies revealed that adherence to polypill regimens is significantly higher (84%) when compared to multiple pill regimens. For example, medications for managing HIV used to be multiple, individual pills taken several times daily. Now, there is a polypill that allows patients to take all HIV medications in one dose. Similarly, short-acting medications can be combined into a long-acting dose that’s only required once per day.
2. Educate patients on complex medication regimens.
Educational interventions play an important role in improving adherence to complex medication regimens. Pharmacies can use artificial intelligence (AI) technology such as AllazoHealth’s AI, to identify patients with a high risk of becoming non-adherent.
From there, delivering personalized patient outreach can educate individuals on the importance of adherence, provide helpful tips for improving adherence, and offer suggestions to patients struggling to manage a complex medication regimen. AI can not only identify which patients to target, but also personalize adherence interventions with the optimal channel, messaging, and timing.
3. Develop a routine with medication reminders.
Developing and sticking to a medication routine is essential for ensuring adherence. This is especially true for patients who must maintain strict, complex medication regimens to manage and treat chronic conditions.
Different techniques and technologies are available to help remind patients to take their medications on time. Refill reminders, injection and infusion reminder programs, and smart pill bottles or devices can benefit patients navigating complicated medication regimens. For instance, a smart insulin pump can help patients manage their diabetes by delivering continuous, customized doses.
4. Coordinate medication refills for convenience.
Delaying or missing medication refills is a common reason for non-adherence. Coordinating medication refills for ease and convenience is helpful for patients who are prescribed multiple medications.
Synchronizing refills allows patients to pick medication refills up all at once, which increases the likelihood of on-time refills and proper medication adherence. Pharmacies can use healthcare AI here as well, turning to technology to identify patients with complicated medication regimens and coordinate the timing of their refills.
5. Perform frequent medication reconciliation.
Periodically reviewing patients’ medication regimens is a best practice when something changes, whether a new drug is added or a dosage is changed. When this occurs, pharmacists can perform a medication reconciliation to ensure that everyone—from patients to caregivers—is on the same page about what should be taken, when, and how.
As part of their review, pharmacists can help patients revise their medication lists, encouraging them to re-organize pill boxes and set up new medication alerts and reminders. By proactively reviewing prescribed medications, pharmacists can help patients navigate complex regimens and improve individual adherence.
Regimen simplification strategies can make all the difference for patients taking multiple medications, especially those with difficult administration requirements or specific instructions on when and how to take their prescriptions. AI technology can enhance these strategies for greater effectiveness and improved results.
Curious about AI and how it can positively impact adherence? Download our case study to learn more about how Walgreens used our AI to improve medication adherence.