CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Patients using workplace primary care and pharmacy services have higher adherence rates to medications — nearly 10% higher — for chronic conditions, compared with patients treated in the community, according to a new study conducted by Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens.
The findings are significant in that they suggest that investing in integrated workplace health and pharmacy programs can help employers realize healthcare savings, while improving patient outcomes.
“This study truly demonstrates the value of the workplace healthcare model in addressing medication adherence one of the most challenging and costly obstacles faced by providers and payers of health care,” stated Dr. Sharon Frazee, an author of the study and VP health research for Take Care Health Systems. “Having care accessibly located at the worksite allows employees to build a trusted, face-to-face relationship with both their clinicians and pharmacists, providing an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about their condition and treatment plan, and ultimately, promote patient adherence through education and communication.”
Non-adherence is indeed costly and is currently estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system $100 billion per year.
While employer-sponsored workplace health programs have been in existence for some time, the study was the first of its kind to examine the relationship between the use of employer health offerings at the worksite and adherence to medications, according to
Take Care Health Systems, which manages more than 700 worksite and retail-based health care centers. Medications used to treat diabetes, heart arrhythmia, hypertension, heart disease and thyroid disorders were included in the study.
The findings, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Managed Care, show that overall adherence to medication was 9.72% higher among patients treated in the workplace than those treated in the community.
Added Allan Khoury, MD, chief medical officer for Take Care Health Systems, “The increased use of generic medications, along with increased adherence, decreases overall medication expense. This leads to better health at a lower cost. This approach is an important lesson for all of American health care. The study was the second portion of a two-part series on the value of integrated workplace primary care and pharmacy services. Take Care Health Systems previously authored a study published in the April 2007 Journal for Health and Productivity illustrating that when doctors and pharmacists work together in a workplace primary care health center, prescribing practices favor older, first-line antibiotics that produce significant savings and provide important therapeutic benefits. The approach, studied at four onsite facilities of an existing Take Care Health Systems client, translated into an estimated potential $1.5 million in savings on antibiotic prescriptions for the host company over three years.”