Published August 2nd, 2016 by Stephanie
For decades, the medical community has been grappling with an important question: how can we ensure that patients take their medicine? One new solution: an automated point-of-care medication delivery system, or POCMDS. What this means is that the doctor rather than a pharmacist provides the prescribed medication personally.
There are a lot of rules and regulations surrounding medications thanks to how dangerous they are and how many of them can be abused. For this reason, the study conducted for two years in southern Florida focused on diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol drugs which have no abuse potential. They also stuck with inexpensive generic drugs with no insurance copay in order to keep the system’s costs low.
The system used a special limited-access medicine cabinet which dispensed pre-sealed and labeled pill bottles with a 90-day supply when the clinic staff punched in the prescription. The staff member would then hand the prescription to the doctor who ordered it, along with a set of written instructions, and the physician would hand these directly to his or her patient.
By cutting out the stop at the pharmacy, the study found an increase in the medication adherence rate of between 17-29 percent, and thanks to the focus on generics the patients didn’t have to worry about any significant cost increases. The study also surveyed the patients for customer satisfaction, and over 80 percent said that the new system was much more convenient.
While this system probably won’t extend to newer, more expensive medications, and it isn’t quite secure enough for easily abused drugs, it’s a promising way to increase medication adherence in areas where adherence is less likely. The study also measured the patients’ results, and the medications proved their effectiveness by allowing patients to live happier and healthier.
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