Optimizing patients’ medications helps them achieve the best treatment outcomes, but it is a process that can take time and requires persistence. Medication management can often involve multiple steps and office visits before the optimal drug and dosage are achieved, a practice that is time consuming for both providers and patients alike. Complex drug interactions, multiple mechanisms of action, and potential for side effects must all be considered because suboptimal prescriptions and medication use can lead to extra costs for the healthcare system, increased hospitalizations, and morbidity due to low adherence.
According to the World Health Organization, medication adherence can more directly impact patient outcomes than specific treatments themselves.1 Roughly half of Americans, for example, fail to take their medications as directed by their physician. This non-adherence can account for as much as 50% of treatment failures, roughly 125,000 deaths, and up to 25% of hospitalizations each year in the United States alone.2 It also accounts for 16% or roughly $500 billion of the nation’s annual healthcare spend.3
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) can help speed up the process to find the correct medication and dosage for patients, thus boosting adherence and improving both outcomes and clinical workflows.
Digital health options help patients achieve better health outcomes
Increasingly, patients want access to healthcare that is convenient for them. “As a pediatrician, I’m very conscious that every time a patient is in my office, it’s time they are not in school or their parents are having to take time off work. It can be hard to justify that for something that could have been done over the phone if I had better access to the patient’s recent data. That is what our platform allows clinicians to do,” explains Dr. Yassaee.
Huma’s regulated Remote Patient Monitoring platform helps inform care planning by providing easy access to patient data, while also allowing clinicians to use multiple contact channels to advise patients on treatment changes and encourage adherence.
The app allows multidisciplinary teams to review a variety of data sources, including ePRO, digital data capture from connected devices, and clinician-reported data – all in a single dashboard. Clinicians can then use the platform to send specific reminders, alerts, and notifications to patients, as well as coordinate telemedicine appointments and outcalls.
Importantly, the continuous collection and communication of data, rather than a few selected snapshots from in-person visits, gives clinicians and patients a more complete clinical picture of a patient’s health, allowing treatment to be based on a fuller reality rather than what is just happening at one specific point in time.
Digital tools like Huma’s regulated Remote Patient Monitoring platform enable patients to quickly obtain answers and better understand their condition and medication regimen. By removing barriers and increasing access to medical knowledge and clinical data, Huma is effectively supporting patients and clinicians and enabling more effective, personalized care plans.
Increased access to data helps clinicians improve medications faster
Medications help patients control their condition and prevent decline, but the key is to ensure the medication and dosage are right for them and that the patient will actually take the medication.
Even if the right treatment plan is in place, other factors may prevent the patient from correctly following their treatment plan. The high cost of medications, fear of side effects, complex dosing regimens, and a lack of symptoms can all lead to non-adherence. “Prescribing should be a two-way conversation. If the patient never takes their medication, then we haven’t really met their health needs. That's why our ability to automatically flag when there might be deviations from their care plan — is so vital to successful patient management,” states Dr. Arrash Yassaee, Global Clinical Director at Huma and Academic Fellow at Imperial College, London.
A remote monitoring platform can greatly improve medication management. For example, in titrating patients with heart failure, we have seen RPM transform what can typically be a four- to six-month process to find the right medication and dose for patients into just a four- to six-week process. Without remote digital monitoring, patients would need to make another in-person appointment before their medication can be altered, but with meaningful clinical data available via an RPM platform, clinicians can monitor patients more often and see data in near real-time. This allows them to make necessary changes, whether it is titrating up or down or even switching medications, based on patients’ reported outcomes and clinical data entered into the system much more quickly
Giving patients ownership of their health
Often, medications take time to produce meaningful change in symptoms. And these changes may come in small increments, making it hard for patients to notice the benefits for their health and well-being. Huma’s remote monitoring platform gives patients the ability to track changes in their symptoms and health status providing them with deeper insights into their health and helping them to understand and visualize incremental changes that are occurring.
The platform’s easy-to-use patient dashboard — featuring direct access to key metrics and health indicators — keeps patients engaged with their health over time. The app also features a “Medications” module, which is designed specifically to support patient adherence to taking the prescribed medications at the right dosage level and time of day.
These features also empower patients to take ownership of their health. A decentralized trial in atrial fibrillation patients demonstrated the power the Huma platform has to positively impact patient health. Not only was patient engagement high, there was also a significant improvement in medication adherence. Patients who had low adherence at baseline increased from 85% to 96% adherence by the end of the trial.
Educating patients on what to expect and what is or isn’t normal with side effects can make them feel empowered and better able to manage adverse events when they do occur. A patient who understands the benefit that a medication gives them is more likely to continue taking it, rather than giving up when adverse reactions occur. Huma’s easily accessible, integrated ‘Learn’ module helps with just that, providing patients with explainers, videos, FAQs, education, dietary guidance, and more to help them better understand their specific condition.
“Our platform has evolved over the last 10 years to correspond to the needs and feedback from patients and physicians across multiple therapeutic areas, which has enabled us to deliver higher patient engagement scores and an increased likelihood of adherence,” says Dr. Yassaee. “Our clinician-to-patient messaging, as well as our application alerts and notifications, and patient education modules, all work together to encourage this higher level of engagement.”