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NEHI releases six-point plan to improve medication adherence


BOSTON — The same organization that reached the often-cited figure of nearly $300 billion wasted each year due to poor medication adherence has developed a six-point agenda for improving it.

The New England Healthcare Institute released a national medication adherence agenda based on six "priorities for action" for policymakers. In 2009, a NEHI study showed that poor medication adherence costs the country about $290 billion per year due to hospitalizations and other complications. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a 5% increase in the use of prescriptions by Medicare patients would result in a 1% decrease in medical and hospital spending.

In its latest report, the group said it supports promoting sharing of best practices and lessons learned from pilots of new medication management techniques; supporting large-scale implementation of promising, evidence-based tactics for improved medication management; continuing development of metrics of medication use to spur adoption of proven medication management strategies; accelerating adoption of electronic prescribing and electronic medical records to support evidence-based interventions for improved adherence; improving medication therapy management services in Medicare Part D; and integrating medication adherence research, policy development and advocacy with broader efforts that aim to improve medication use, including those focused on patient safety.

"There are many reasons to be optimistic that patient adherence can be improved," NEHI VP policy research and report author Tom Hubbard said. "These six priorities for action provide both a vision and an agenda to get there."

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