SOURCE: Healthentic


February 12, 2015 12:00 ET

Not Taking Your Medication? Your Employer Is Paying the Price, Finds Healthentic

Data Shows Nearly 50 Percent of Patients Do Not Take Medication as Prescribed; Costing Americans Nearly $300 Billion

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Feb 12, 2015) - Healthentic, an analytics company that easily identifies health savings for employers, released an analysis today examining the health and financial impact of medication non-adherence. Healthentic looked at nearly 100,000 lives in its database, and found nearly 50 percent of people with prescriptions for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol do not take their medications as prescribed.

The toll of medication non-adherence is huge. By some estimates, it costs the U.S. health care system between $100-289 billion every year in direct costs.1,2 Losses in productivity due to health related factors could multiply that by 2.3 times.3

"There's a high tragic cost for people who don't take their medications as prescribed -- even for people who take their medication most of the time," said Jeff O'Mara, Chief Executive Officer, Healthentic. "Non-adherence is a huge health problem for individuals, and causes massive amounts of unnecessary costs for employers."

Non-adherence by the numbers

Healthentic's claims data over a full year shows non-adherence resulted in:

  • 128 avoidable hospitalizations for diabetes
    • Totaling over $2.1 million in avoidable costs
  • 243 avoidable hospitalizations for high blood pressure
    • Totaling over $4 million in avoidable costs
  • 150 avoidable hospitalizations for high cholesterol
    • Totaling almost $2.5 million in avoidable costs

Depending on how often they take their medications, non-adherent patients are 63 to 134 percent more likely to be hospitalized for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

What employers can do

While no single solution exists, Healthentic believes employers can reduce the non-adherence problem by:

  • Identifying health plans with lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications
  • Looking for health care systems with a patient-centered, team approach to care
  • Targeting outreach to non-adherent employees with programs that have shown success for their specific conditions

"Too many employers are focusing their workplace health efforts on things that don't make an impact to health or costs. Managing specific people and conditions in a population, using tools like medication adherence, is one of the most effective ways to avoid expensive hospitalization and keep people healthy -- if you target the right people," said Al Lewis, Founder and President, Disease Management Purchasing Consortium.

What employees can do

The easiest way for employees to help reduce the non-adherence risk is by taking their medications as directed. Other tips include:

  • Living a healthy lifestyle
  • Learning how their medications benefit their health
  • Maintaining an up-to-date list of medications
  • Logging personal health indicators (e.g. blood pressure readings for those with high blood pressure, or blood sugar measurements for those with diabetes).

To see the full Healthentic analysis on medicine non-adherence, visit

About Healthentic

Healthentic, an innovative analytics platform, is the easiest way to measure population health. Healthentic's Population Health Dashboard (PhD) gives businesses critical insights using the power of whole health informatics to make changes to their plans and programs in order to lower costs while improving overall employee health and productivity. Healthentic works with more than 10,800 enterprises, and covers more than 38.7 million lives. To learn more, visit

1 Viswanathan M, Golin CE, Jones CD, Ashok M, Blalock S, Wines RCM, Coker-Schwimmer EJL, Grodensky CA, Rosen DL, Yuen A, Sista P, Lohr KN. Medication Adherence Interventions: Comparative Effectiveness. Closing the Quality Gap: Revisiting the State of the Science. Evidence Report No. 208. AHRQ Publication No. 12-E010-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. September 2012.
2 Iuga AO, McGuire MJ. Adherence and health care costs. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy. 2014: 7, 35-44.
3 Loeppke R1, Taitel M, Haufle V, Parry T, Kessler RC, Jinnett K. Health and productivity as a business strategy: a multiemployer study. J Occup Environ Med. 2009 Apr;51(4):411-28.

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