The Medication Hesitation
– 55% of patients don’t realise they aren’t taking their medication effectively
– Just 16% of patients who are prescribed a new medicine take it as prescribed, experience no problems and receive as much information as they need
– HealthHero new product Medi-SMART supports patients with their medication queries
It is clear that the 2019 patient has different concerns and health problems to the patients of 1948 when the NHS was first formed, and with these changes brings new challenges to the NHS. In 1948 a patient’s primary concerns were infectious diseases and malnutrition, modern medicine has significantly reduced and in some cases eradicated these diseases. Today, chronic conditions dominate waiting rooms – often as a result of poor diet or inactivity – these patients consume around 70% of the NHS’ resources.
According to the NHS Patient Satisfaction Survey, July 2019, 52.4% of all NHS consultations that take place (circa 365 million) are for patients who suffer from one or more long-term physical or mental health condition, disability or illness. It is now the case that multi-morbidity (having multiple chronic conditions) is increasing. Everyday, NHS GPs see more elderly and obese patients – the two main contributing factors of a chronic condition.
With this shift towards complex, long-term conditions comes more complicated medication requirements. Nearly half of all UK adults are taking at least one prescribed medicine per week (NHS Digital). Just 16% of patients who are prescribed a new medicine take it as prescribed, experience no problems and receive as much information as they need. Ten days after starting a medicine, almost a third of patients are already non-adherent – of these, 55% don’t realise they are not taking their medicines correctly, whilst 45% are intentionally non-adherent (Royal Pharmaceutical Society). This leaves the vast majority of patients either taking medication incorrectly, ineffectively or unsure on how best to combine multiple medications.
Over 1 in 5 patients with a long-term condition say they do not receive enough support to manage their condition (NHS England Patient Satisfaction Survey, July 2019); an increase since 2018. Whilst the NHS provides a number of important support services, some of these require patients to take time out of their day which can be inconvenient. With so many potentially at risk, the need for simple and convenient supplementary support outside the time-constraints of the NHS is readily apparent.
In answer to this growing concern, HealthHero’ Medi-SMART service has been launched as a dedicated support line for medication-related queries and advice. The first of a range of SMART family of services designed to provide holistic support to patients.
To increase confidence in self-management, our experienced clinical pharmacists are on hand to ensure patients’ medications are optimised for their condition, medical history, lifestyle and symptoms. They take the time to explain how best to take medication, give advice and guidance on managing polypharmacy (taking multiple medications) and recommend over the counter remedies which are safe to take alongside your prescription. Side effects of medication can range from mild to severe, the expertise available via Medi-SMART can advise what to expect and how best to manage any negative effects.
As experts in medication management, our seasoned team have the ability to prescribe and are also trained in minor illnesses – regularly treating patients with coughs, sore throats, rashes and headaches.
Patients on the same medications for many years can find their medications are suddenly in short supply or not available at all due to manufacturer changes. Clinical pharmacists are best placed to advise on alternatives and will steer patients in the right direction for medications that support them.
Dr Chris Morris, Medical Director at HealthHero, said: “Uniquely, Medi-SMART will allow people to have an unlimited amount of time to speak to an expert in medication management, which is particularly important as we see more patients taking multiple medications due to increasingly complex health concerns and multiple long-term conditions. We believe Medi-SMART will enhance the patient experience and provide the best possible outcomes for those who require more specialised support.”