People who receive medical care in an integrated health care system with electronic health records linked to its own pharmacy more often collect their new prescriptions for diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure medications than do people who receive care in a non-integrated system, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The study of 12,061 men and women in Kaiser Permanente Colorado with newly ordered medications for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol found that only 7 percent of the people did not get their new prescriptions for blood pressure medication filled, 11 percent failed to pick up new prescriptions for diabetes medication, and 13 percent failed to collect new prescriptions for cholesterol-reducing medication.
Previous research of patients in health systems that are not integrated found that primary non-adherence, when new prescriptions are not filled, to be as high as 22 percent. However, primary non-adherence research conducted in non-integrated systems likely overestimates the percentage of patients who do not have their prescriptions filled. This is because, in a non-integrated system, medication orders from one organization must be linked with pharmacy claims from a different organization. Pharmacy claims databases do not include information on patients who never pick up their first prescription, nor do they contain information on patients who paid cash for their prescription, researchers said.
In contrast, within an integrated health system such as Kaiser Permanente, medication orders can be directly linked to prescriptions filled within the same system, thus including information on patients who do not pick up their first prescription.