Study: Medication Misuse, Lack of Adherence Adding $200 Billion in Healthcare Costs | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: Medication Misuse, Lack of Adherence Adding $200 Billion in Healthcare Costs

June 19, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Medication misuse and lack of adherence is a $200 billion problem in the U.S. healthcare system, according to a new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a Danbury, C.T. consulting firm. The report, Avoidable Costs in U.S. Healthcare: The $200 Billion Opportunity from Using Medicines More Responsibly, says that this problem represents eight percent of the country’s annual healthcare expenditures, much of which comes through avoidable readmissions and outpatient treatments.

Researchers at IMS looked at six areas, which they say, contribute to this problem. Non adherence to medications leads the way. While progress has been made in this area (up 3-4 percent from 2009 for patients with hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes), it still constitutes an estimated $105 billion in annual avoidable healthcare costs. The researchers say analytics and collaboration among stakeholders have helped understand why patients don’t adhere to medications, as well as understanding the effectiveness of intervention programs.

Another area which has caused this issue, according to the IMS researchers, is delayed evidence-based treatment practice. The researchers found that this causes $40 billion in avoidable costs. Other areas looked at IMS were misuse of antibiotics, medication errors, suboptimal use of generics, and mismanaged polypharmacy in older adults.

“Those avoidable costs could pay for the healthcare of more than 24 million currently uninsured U.S. citizens. Reaching a meaningful level of consensus and alignment among stakeholders, based on measured and proven success models, is a key step to unlocking the $200 billion opportunity identified in our study,” Murray Aitken, executive director, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, said in a statement.

One possible solution to the medication adherence problem is automated reminders. A 2012 study from the Oakland, Calif.-based integrated system, Kaiser Permanente, patients who receive automatic reminders are 1.6 times more likely to fill prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering statins than those who don’t get one.

Topics

News

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.

HHS Announces Winning Solutions in Opioid Code-a-Thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted this week a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the opioid epidemic.

In GAO Report, More Concern over VA VistA Modernization Project

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling into question the more than $1 billion that has been spent to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health IT system.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Medicare ACO Program

U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) have introduced H.R. 4580, the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 that makes changes to the Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program.

Humana Develops Medication Management Tool

A new tool developed by Humana enables the company’s members to keep a list of their medications in one place.

Four Hospitals Piloting OurNotes Initiative in 2018

Beginning in January, four academic hospitals—Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, University of Washington in Seattle, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire and University of Colorado in Boulder—will begin piloting a new digital tool called OurNotes that enables patients to contribute to their clinical notes.