As we have discussed in this blog before, text-message based medication reminders are becoming more widely used, and in fact may be a better alternative than apps for medication adherence and persistence programs. We are always looking to validate this thinking through real world use of our platform with real patients. The CareSpeak platform has been used in many clinical studies showing the value of medication reminders, but a recent commercial project with a specialty pharmacy involving Inflammatory Disease patients is a very good demonstration of the power of our mobile Health manager™ platform.
Our client's objective was to determine if patients enrolled in the CareSpeak program were more compliant with their medication than patients receiving usual care. The patient population chosen for the project was patients with inflammatory disease - Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
To measure the impact of the CareSpeak intervention, our client created a control group to track along with the intervention group. All patients presenting at their pharmacy with a prescription for Inflammatory Disease medication were invited to enroll in the CareSpeak program. Patients who agreed to be in the CareSpeak program were enrolled in the intervention group. Patients who did not agree to be in the CareSpeak program were used as the control group. Patients were enrolled and tracked over a rolling 9-month period. At the end of 9-months in the program, their self-reported adherence behavior and refill rates were collected and analyzed.
All patients in the intervention group had their medication and refill reminders customized to their desired times of the day (e.g. every 14 days at 8:00pm, or every Friday at 7:15am). Patients were asked to text back a code every time they took their medication.
CareSpeak monitored all patient logs and any time the patient had any clinical issues, they were escalated to the client's pharmacy staff to handle. CareSpeak staff members handled any non-clinical issues, such as changes of phone numbers or alert times.
Patients on the CareSpeak intervention had significantly more prescription refills over the intervention period than did the control group patients. Intervention group patients also had more days of therapy than did control group patients. On an annualized basis, patients on the CareSpeak intervention increased from 10.5 prescription refills per year to 12.10 refills per year, an increase of over 15%. In addition, the intervention group averaged 10.4% fewer days between their prescriptions refills, leading to more days on therapy then the control group.
This analysis was especially enlightening in that both groups were well monitored and significant differences in behavior were seen when patients were receiving regular text message reminders from the CareSpeak platform versus those who didn't. With similar results in other programs and clinical studies we have done to date, it is easy to see how an SMS reminder service can add significant ROI to any patient adherence or support platform.
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