The writing of a prescription has long been one of the most expected steps to occur at the end of a physician-patient encounter. The subsequent events are assumed to follow a natural order: patients fill their prescriptions at a pharmacy and then continue to use their medications as prescribed. Unfortunately, these assumptions often do not hold. The challenges of consistent medication use, often called secondary adherence or persistence, have been well characterized by decades of research estimating that, on average, fewer than half of patients use their medications as prescribed over the long-term and many stop using their medications within months of beginning.1 Much less well appreciated has been primary nonadherence, where patients do not fill the initial prescriptions they are given.
BACKGROUND: Efforts at predicting long-term adherence to medications have been focused on patients filling typical month-long supplies of medication. However, prediction remains difficult for patients filling longer initial supplies, a practice that is becoming increasingly common as a method to enhance medication adherence. OBJECTIVES: To (a) extend methods involving short-term filling behaviors and (b) develop novel variables to predict adherence in a cohort of patients receiving longer initial prescriptions. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we used claims from a large national insurer to identify patients initiating a 90-day supply of oral medications for diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia (i.e., statins). Patients were included in the cohort if they had continuous database enrollment in the 180 days before and 365 days after medication initiation. Adherence was measured in the subsequent 12 months using the proportion of days covered metric. In total, 125 demographic, clinical, and medication characteristics at baseline and in the first 30-120 days after initiation were used to predict adherence using logistic regression models. We used 10-fold cross-validation to assess predictive accuracy by discrimination (c-statistic) measures. RESULTS: In total, 32,249 patients met the inclusion criteria, including 14,930 patients initiating statins, 12,887 patients initiating antihypertensives, and 4,432 patients initiating oral hypoglycemics. Prediction using only baseline variables was relatively poor (cross-validated c-statistic = 0.644). Including indicators of acute clinical conditions, health resource utilization, and short-term medication filling in the first 120 days greatly improved predictive ability (0.823). A model that incorporated all baseline characteristics and predictors within the first 120 days after medication initiation more accurately predicted future adherence (0.832). The best performing model that included all 125 baseline and postbaseline characteristics had strong predictive ability (0.837), suggesting the utility of measuring these novel postbaseline variables in this population. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that long-term, 12-month adherence in patients filling longer supplies of medication can be strongly predicted using a combination of clinical, health resource utilization, and medication filling characteristics before and after treatment initiation. DISCLOSURES: This work was supported by an unrestricted grant from CVS Health to Brigham and Women's Hospital. Shrank and Matlin were employees and shareholders at CVS Health at the time of this study; they report no financial interests in products or services that are related to this subject. Spettell is an employee of, and shareholder in, Aetna. This research was previously presented at the 2016 Annual Conference of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology; August 25-28, 2016; Dublin, Ireland.
Background Little is known about physicians’ approaches to adopting new cardiovascular drugs and how adoption varies between drugs of differing novelty. Methods Using data on dispensed prescriptions from IMS Health's Xponent™ database, we created a cohort of all primary care physicians (PCPs) and cardiologists in Pennsylvania who regularly prescribed anticoagulants, antihypertensives and statins from 2007 to 2011. We examined prescribing of three new cardiovascular drugs of differing novelty: dabigatran, aliskiren and pitavastatin. Outcomes were rapid adoption of each new drug, defined by early and sustained monthly prescribing detected by group-based trajectory models, by physicians within the first 15 months of marketplace introduction. Results 5953 physicians regularly prescribed each drug class. The majority of physicians (63.8%) adopted zero new drugs in the first 15 months, 35.0% rapidly adopted one or two, and 1.2% rapidly adopted all three. Physicians were more likely to rapidly adopt the most novel drug, dabigatran (27.3%), than aliskiren (10.5%) or pitavastatin (8.0%). Physician specialty and sex were the most consistent predictors of adoption. Compared to PCPs, cardiologists were more likely to rapidly adopt dabigatran (Adjusted Odds Ratio 8.90, 95% confidence interval 7.42–10.67; P<0.001) aliskerin (2.05, CI 1.56–2.69; P<0.001) and pitavastatin (3.44, CI 2.60–4.57; P<0.001). Female physicians were less likely to adopt dabigatran (0.71, CI 0.59–0.85; P <0.001) and aliskiren (0.64, CI 0.49–0.83; P <0.001). Conclusions Physicians vary in their prescribing of recently-introduced cardiovascular drugs. Though most physicians did not rapidly adopt any new cardiovascular drugs, drug novelty and cardiology training were associated with greater adoption.
Importance Medication nonadherence accounts for up to half of uncontrolled hypertension. Smartphone applications (apps) that aim to improve adherence are widely available but have not been rigorously evaluated.Objective To determine if the Medisafe smartphone app improves self-reported medication adherence and blood pressure control.Design, Setting, and Participants This was a 2-arm, randomized clinical trial (Medication Adherence Improvement Support App For Engagement—Blood Pressure [MedISAFE-BP]). Participants were recruited through an online platform and were mailed a home blood pressure cuff to confirm eligibility and to provide follow-up measurements. Of 5577 participants who were screened, 412 completed consent, met inclusion criteria (confirmed uncontrolled hypertension, taking 1 to 3 antihypertensive medications), and were randomized in a ratio of 1:1 to intervention or control.Interventions Intervention arm participants were instructed to download and use the Medisafe app, which includes reminder alerts, adherence reports, and optional peer support.Main Outcomes and Measures Co–primary outcomes were change from baseline to 12 weeks in self-reported medication adherence, measured by the Morisky medication adherence scale (MMAS) (range, 0-8, with lower scores indicating lower adherence), and change in systolic blood pressure.Results Participants (n = 411; 209 in the intervention group and 202 controls) had a mean age of 52.0 years and mean body mass index, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, of 35.5; 247 (60%) were female, and 103 (25%) were black. After 12 weeks, the mean (SD) score on the MMAS improved by 0.4 (1.5) among intervention participants and remained unchanged among controls (between-group difference: 0.4; 95% CI, 0.1-0.7; P = .01). The mean (SD) systolic blood pressure at baseline was 151.4 (9.0) mm Hg and 151.3 (9.4) mm Hg, among intervention and control participants, respectively. After 12 weeks, the mean (SD) systolic blood pressure decreased by 10.6 (16.0) mm Hg among intervention participants and 10.1 (15.4) mm Hg among controls (between-group difference: −0.5; 95% CI, −3.7 to 2.7; P = .78).Conclusions and Relevance Among individuals with poorly controlled hypertension, patients randomized to use a smartphone app had a small improvement in self-reported medication adherence but no change in systolic blood pressure compared with controls.Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02727543
In the presence of heterogeneity of treatment effect (HTE), the average treatment effect from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) may not be applicable to different patients, such as those in observational settings. Our objective was to develop a novel approach that uses individual-level simulation to expand RCT results to target patient populations in the presence of HTE. For this purpose, we compared the results of the Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy (RE-LY) trial, and two observational studies that compared benefits and risks of dabigatran to warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation. We developed a simulation model that replicates the rates of ischemic stroke and major bleeding observed in RE-LY using published outcome risk models and participants' baseline characteristics. We used our validated simulation model to predict what the results of the RCT would have been had it been conducted in populations similar to those in the observational studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Background Healthcare providers are increasingly encouraged to improve their patients' adherence to chronic disease medications. Prediction of adherence can identify patients in need of intervention, but most prediction efforts have focused on claims data, which may be unavailable to providers. Electronic health records (EHR) are readily available and may provide richer information with which to predict adherence than is currently available through claims. Methods In a linked database of complete Medicare Advantage claims and comprehensive EHR from a multi-specialty outpatient practice, we identified patients who filled a prescription for a statin, antihypertensive, or oral antidiabetic during 2011 to 2012. We followed patients to identify subsequent medication filling patterns and used group-based trajectory models to assign patients to adherence trajectories. We then identified potential predictors from both claims and EHR data and fit a series of models to evaluate the accuracy of each data source in predicting medication adherence. Results Claims were highly predictive of patients in the worst adherence trajectory (C=0.78), but EHR data also provided good predictions (C=0.72). Among claims predictors, presence of a prior gap in filling of at least 6 days was by far the most influential predictor. In contrast, good predictions from EHR data required complex models with many variables. Conclusion EHR data can provide good predictions of adherence trajectory and therefore may be useful for providers seeking to deploy resource-intensive interventions. However, prior adherence information derived from claims is most predictive, and can supplement EHR data when it is available.
Since 2010, four oral anticoagulants have been approved for marketing in addition to warfarin for treatment of thromboembolic disease. Limited head-to-head data exist comparing these treatments, leaving patients and clinicians with little guidance for selecting a strategy that balances recurrence reduction with bleeding risk. In the dabigatran, apixaban, rivaroxban, edoxaban and warfarin comparative effectiveness research study, we compare all five currently available oral anticoagulant agents for the extended treatment of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, as well as no extended treatment, and evaluate whether results differ in specific sub-populations. As our population includes Medicare novel anticoagulant users and large numbers of commercially insured and Medicaid patients, our results will likely be transportable to the majority of US patients experiencing a DVT or pulmonary embolism. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT03271450.
Medication synchronization programs based in pharmacies simplify the refill process by enabling patients to pick up all of their medications on a single visit. This can be especially important for improving medication adherence in patients with complex chronic diseases. We evaluated the impact of two synchronization programs on adherence, cardiovascular events, and resource use among Medicare beneficiaries treated between 2011 and 2014 for two or more chronic conditions-at least one of which was hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or diabetes. Among nearly 23,000 patients matched by propensity score, the mean proportion of days covered (a measure of medication adherence) for the control group of patients without a synchronization program was 0.84 compared to 0.87 for synchronized patients-a gain of 3 percentage points. Adherence improvement in synchronized versus control patients was three times greater in patients with low baseline adherence, compared to those with higher baseline adherence. Rates of hospitalization and emergency department visits and rates of outpatient visits were 9 percent and 3 percent lower in the synchronized group compared to the control group, respectively, while cardiovascular event rates were similar. Synchronization programs were associated with improved adherence for patients with cardiovascular disease, especially those with low baseline adherence.
PURPOSE: Medicare's merit-based incentive payment system and narrowing of physician networks by health insurers will stoke clinicians' and policy makers' interest in care delivery attributes associated with value as defined by payers. METHODS: To help define these attributes, we analyzed 2009 to 2011 commercial health insurance claims data for more than 40 million preferred provider organization patients attributed to over 53,000 primary care practice sites. We identified sites ranking favorably on both quality and low total annual per capita health care spending ("high-value") and sites ranking near the median ("average-value"). Sites were selected for qualitative assessment from 64 high-value sites and 102 average-value sites with more than 1 primary care physician who delivered adult primary care and provided services to enough enrollees to permit meaningful spending and quality ranking. Purposeful sampling ensured regional diversity. Physicians experienced in primary care assessment and blinded to site rankings visited 12 high-value sites and 4 average-value sites to identify tangible attributes of care delivery that could plausibly explain a high ranking on value. RESULTS: Thirteen attributes of care delivery distinguished sites in the high-value cohort. Six attributes attained statistical significance: decision support for evidence-based medicine, risk-stratified care management, careful selection of specialists, coordination of care, standing orders and protocols, and balanced physician compensation. CONCLUSIONS: Awareness of care delivery attributes that distinguish their high-value peers may help physicians respond successfully to incentives from Medicare and private payers to lower annual health care spending and improve quality of care.
Introduction Adherence to and persistence of medications for chronic diseases remains poor and many interventions to improve medication use have only been modestly effective. Targeting interventions to patients who are most likely to benefit should improve their efficiency and clinical impact. This study aims to test the impact of three cost-equivalent pharmacist-led interventions on insulin persistence and glycaemic control among patients with diabetes.Methods and analysis TARGIT-Diabetes (Targeted Adherence Intervention to Reach Glycemic Control with Insulin Therapy for patients with Diabetes) is a randomised controlled trial that will evaluate three different multifaceted pharmacist-outreach strategies for improving long-term insulin use among individuals with diabetes. We will randomise 6000 patients in a large insurer to one of three arms. The arms are designed to deliver an increasingly intensive intervention to a progressively targeted population, identified using predictive analytics. The central component of the intervention in all arms is a tailored telephone consultation with a pharmacist which varies across arms based on the: (A) proportion of patients offered the intervention and (B) intervention intensity, including follow-up frequency and cointerventions such as text reminders and interactions with patients’ providers. The primary outcome is insulin persistence, assessed using pharmacy claims data, and the secondary outcomes are glycaemic control as measured by glycosylated haemoglobin values, healthcare utilisation and healthcare spending.Ethics and dissemination This protocol has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Privacy Board of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. We plan to present the results of this trial at national meetings and in manuscripts submitted to peer-reviewed journals.Trial registration number NCT 02846779.%U http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/bmjopen/7/10/e016551.full.pdf
Purpose: The primary objective of this study was to characterize variation in patterns of opioid prescribing within primary care settings at first visits for pain, and to describe variation by condition, geography, and patient characteristics. Methods: 2014 healthcare utilization data from Optum's Clinformatics™ DataMart were used to evaluate individuals 18 years or older with an initial presentation to primary care for 1 of 10 common pain conditions. The main outcomes assessed were (1) the proportion of first visits for pain associated with an opioid prescription fill and (2) the proportion of opioid prescriptions with >7 days' supply. Results: We identified 205 560 individuals who met inclusion criteria; 9.1% of all visits were associated with an opioid fill, ranging from 4.1% (headache) to 28.2% (dental pain). Approximately half (46%) of all opioid prescriptions supplied more than 7 days, and 10% of prescriptions supplied ≥30 days. We observed a 4-fold variation in rates of opioid initiation by state, with highest rates of prescribing in Alabama (16.6%) and lowest rates in New York (3.7%). Conclusions: In 2014, nearly half of all patients filling opioid prescriptions received more than 7 days' of opioids in an initial prescription. Policies limiting initial supplies have the potential to substantially impact opioid prescribing in the primary care setting.
OBJECTIVES: To understand the impact of prescription synchronization, offered through the ScriptSync(R) program at CVS pharmacies nationwide, on adherence and reducing visits to the pharmacy. DESIGN: Cohort study, conducted between March 26, 2015, and December 18, 2015. Program enrollment occurred in August 2015, with a 120-day baseline period preceding enrollment and a 120-day follow-up period. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: CVS retail community pharmacies across the United States. CVS Pharmacy patients voluntarily enrolling in the prescription synchronization program at CVS retail community pharmacies across the United States who filled 3 or more eligible prescriptions before program enrollment. The study included 126,597 patients who enrolled in the program and 81,355 patients who enrolled after the study enrollment period. OUTCOME MEASURES: Adherence was defined as the medication possession ratio. The average number of pharmacy visits per month was a second outcome measure. RESULTS: Exposed patients had a 7.5 percentage point adherence improvement (from 79.6% to 87.1%), compared with a 2.8 percentage point improvement among the unexposed (from 78.1% to 80.9%) for a benefit of 4.7 percentage points (P < 0.0001). Among patients with adherence opportunities, the net impact on adherence was 10.6% (P < 0.0001). The program resulted in 0.17 fewer visits per month (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Offering prescription refill synchronization at a large national retail pharmacy chain resulted in improved adherence and fewer visits to the pharmacy in the 4 months following ScriptSync enrollment. Prescription refill synchronization programs should be considered in the care of patients with multiple comorbidities.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether a shared decision-making intervention decreases the quantity of oxycodone tablets prescribed after cesarean delivery. TECHNIQUE: A tablet computer-based decision aid formed the basis of a shared decision-making session to guide opioid prescribing after cesarean delivery. Women first received information on typical trajectories of pain resolution and expected opioid use after cesarean delivery and then chose the number of tablets of 5 mg oxycodone they would be prescribed up to the institutional standard prescription of 40 tablets. EXPERIENCE: From April 11, 2016, to June 10, 2016, 105 women were screened, 75 were eligible, and 51 consented to participate; one patient was excluded after enrollment as a result of prolonged hospitalization. The median number of tablets (5 mg oxycodone) women chose for their prescription was 20.0 (interquartile range 15.0-25.0), which was less than the standard 40-tablet prescription (P<.001). CONCLUSION: A shared decision-making approach to opioid prescribing after cesarean delivery was associated with approximately a 50% decrease in the number of opioids prescribed postoperatively in this cohort compared with our institutional standard prescription. This approach is a promising strategy to reduce the amount of leftover opioid medication after treatment of acute postcesarean pain. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02770612.
BACKGROUND: Adherence to evidence-based therapies such as medications and exercise remains poor among patients after a myocardial infarction (MI). Text message reminders have been shown to improve rates of adherence to medication and exercise, but the existing studies have been of short duration. OBJECTIVE: Two single-center randomized controlled pilot trials were conducted to evaluate the impact of text message reminders over 12 months on adherence to cardiac medications and exercise among patients receiving cardiac rehabilitation after hospitalization for MI. METHODS: In the medication adherence trial, 34 patients were randomized to receive usual care alone or usual care plus daily text message reminders delivered at the time of day at which medications were to be taken. In the exercise adherence trial, 50 patients were randomized to receive usual care alone or usual care plus 4 daily text messages reminding them to exercise as directed. RESULTS: The text message reminders led to a mean 14.2 percentage point improvement in self-reported medication adherence over usual care (P<.001, 95% CI 7-21). In the exercise trial, text message reminders resulted in an additional 4.2 days (P=.001, 95% CI 1.9-6.4) and 4.0 hours (P<.001, 95% CI 2.4-5.6) of exercise per month over usual care and a nonsignificant increase of 1.2 metabolic equivalents (METS; P=.06) in exercise capacity as assessed by a BRUCE protocol at 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Text message reminders significantly increased adherence to medication and exercise among post-MI patients receiving care in a structured cardiac rehabilitation program. This technology represents a simple and scalable method to ensure consistent use of evidence-based cardiovascular therapies. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02783287; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02783287 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6sBnvNb05).
OBJECTIVE: The relationship between arthroplasty and long-term opioid use in patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis is not well studied. We examined the prevalence, patterns and predictors of persistent opioid use after hip or knee arthroplasty. METHOD: Using claims data (2004-2013) from a US commercial health plan, we identified adults who underwent hip or knee arthroplasty and filled >/=1 opioid prescription within 30 days after the surgery. We defined persistent opioid users as patients who filled >/=1 opioid prescription every month during the 1-year postoperative period based on group-based trajectory models. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine preoperative predictors of persistent opioid use after surgery. RESULTS: We identified 57,545 patients who underwent hip or knee arthroplasty. The mean +/- SD age was 61.5 +/- 7.8 years and 87.1% had any opioid use preoperatively. Overall, 7.6% persistently used opioids after the surgery. Among patients who used opioids in 80% of the time for >/=4 months preoperatively (n = 3023), 72.1% became persistent users. In multivariable analysis, knee arthroplasty vs hip, a longer hospitalization stay, discharge to a rehabilitation facility, preoperative opioid use (e.g., a longer duration and greater dosage and frequency), a higher comorbidity score, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine and smoking, and benzodiazepine use at baseline were strong predictors for persistent opioid use (C-statistic = 0.917). CONCLUSION: Over 7% of patients persistently used opioids in the year after hip or knee arthroplasty. Given the adverse health effects of persistent opioid use, strategies need to be developed to prevent persistent opioid use after this common surgery.
Abstract Background Poor glycemic control among patients with diabetes may stem from poor medication and lifestyle adherence or a failure to appropriately intensify therapy. A patient-centered approach could discern the most likely possibility and would then, as appropriate, address patient barriers to non-adherence (using behavioral interviewing methods such as motivational interviewing) or help facilitate choices among treatment augmentation options (using methods such as shared decision-making). Objective To test the impact of a novel telephone-based patient-centered intervention on glycemic control for patients with poorly-controlled diabetes. Methods/design ENGAGE-DM (ENhancing outcomes through Goal Assessment and Generating Engagement in Diabetes Mellitus) is a pragmatic trial of patients with poorly-controlled diabetes receiving treatment with an oral hypoglycemic agent. We randomized 1400 patients in a large health insurer to intervention or usual care. The intervention is delivered over the telephone by a pharmacist and consists of a 2-step process that integrates brief negotiated interviewing and shared decision-making to identify patient-concordant goals and options for enhancing patients' diabetes management. The trial's primary outcome is disease control, assessed using glycosylated hemoglobin values. Secondary outcomes include medication adherence measures, assessed using pharmacy claims data. Conclusions This trial will determine whether a novel highly-scalable patient engagement strategy improves disease control and adherence to medications among individuals with poorly-controlled diabetes.
BACKGROUND: Palbociclib, a novel small-molecule inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 for the treatment of advanced breast cancer, has demonstrated significant efficacy in prolonging progression-free survival when added to existing therapies. Considering the high cost of palbociclib, we assessed cost-effectiveness of adding palbociclib to usual care in treatment of advanced breast cancer. METHODS: We developed a discrete event simulation model to simulate time to cancer progression and to compare life time clinical benefit and cost of alternative treatment strategies for patients with metastatic disease from societal perspective. Per approved indication, endocrine treatment naive patients were assigned to palbociclib plus letrozole (PAL+LET) or letrozole alone (LET). Patients with prior endocrine therapy were assigned to palbociclib plus fulvestrant (PAL+FUL) or fulvestrant alone (FUL). The model assumptions were informed based on published clinical trial data and other peer reviewed studies. We performed one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses to assess the robustness of our results to the changes in model assumptions. RESULTS: In treatment-naive patients, the addition of palbociclib to letrozole cost an estimated $768,498 per additional quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. The addition of palbociclib to fulvestrant in patients with prior endocrine therapy cost an estimated $918,166 per QALY gained. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated adding palbociclib has a 0% chance of being cost-effectiveness in either patient groups at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000 per QALY. CONCLUSION: From a societal perspective, palbociclib treatment for both patient groups (with and without prior endocrine therapy) is highly unlikely to be cost-effective compared with the usual care in the United States.