Patient Engagement: The Missing Link in the Medication Adherence Journey


Patient Engagement: The Missing Link in the Medication Adherence Journey

Opportunities to engage patients in filling prescriptions exist after they leave the exam room.

Affordability is one of the top causes of medication non-adherence, leading to nearly a quarter of adults choosing to leave a prescription unfilled. 

Providers know cost impacts adherence, and they often try to choose medication options patients can afford. Real-Time Prescription Benefit (RTPB) solutions embedded in provider workflows have made this possible, giving providers access to lowest-cost options for patients. When used correctly, RTPB is powerful: saving one patient $769 will the click of a button.

Identifying and ordering more affordable options at the point of care is the first critical step to engaging patients in filling their prescriptions. After the medication is ordered and the patient leaves the exam room, there is another significant opportunity to drive adherence.

Sustained patient engagement is the missing link 

Historical patient engagement has ended when the provider orders a prescription and the patient walks out the door. From there, pharmacists picked up the baton, reaching out to patients when the prescription is ready for pick-up or seems to have been abandoned. 

With many points of failure throughout this process, it’s become clear that we need to fill engagement gaps and better support patients along their journey. Instead of one alert when the prescription is ready for pickup, patients need touch-points prior to the first fill, when they have questions between fills, when subsequent refills are ready, and beyond. The challenge is how to provide this level of engagement without overburdening the system.

Automation makes patient engagement possible, without adding staff burden 

Providers and pharmacists are already overburdened and it’s impossible to expect them to conduct personal outreach to every patient who has a prescription ready. Instead, health systems can boost adherence by investing in technology that automatically engages patients along their medication adherence journey. 

For example, after a prescription is ordered, a patient can begin receiving automated messages about a variety of topics that impact adherence, including:

  • Education on when and how to properly take the medication
  • What side effects they can expect
  • How to reach a pharmacist with questions answered
  • When refills are due
  • Participation in satisfaction surveys

By using automated technology to share this information, providers and pharmacists don’t have to take on new responsibilities, and they can maximize their time by focusing on helping patients with more complex needs, or for personally engaging those at higher risk of non-adherence. 

Lightweight, personalized text messages, powered by an AI virtual assistant and sent directly from the health system pharmacy, can increase loyalty to the system while also creating an opportunity for each patient to ask questions or express concerns. This reduces barriers to adherence that may have previously been invisible and supports a scaled patient engagement strategy.

Arrive Health recently acquired a set of patient engagement and automation technologies from UPMC Enterprises to add these innovative capabilities to our pharmacy suite. By engaging patients with cost information at the point of care, and supporting them with adherence messaging and resources throughout their journey, we create a tailored experience that drives satisfaction and outcomes.

More than 60,000 UPMC patients have engaged with the adherence program, and UPMC has realized meaningful returns by using these tools, including:

  • +40% patients responding to program outreach 
  • 200% increase in refills
  • 4,000 pharmacy follow-up calls eliminated per month

We’re passionate about improving affordability and access, and are excited to bring these engagement solutions to health systems nationwide. Those interested in improving patient engagement, medication adherence, and pharmacy automation should reach out to learn more.

Related content

Green Box
Green Box
Green Box
Click to access the login or register cheese