Medical Adherence Significantly Reduces Hospital Visits For Bipolar Patients
A new observational study finds that even small improvements in medical adherence can reduce both emergency room visits and hospitalizations for those on antipsychotic drugs
**This is the first in an ongoing series of stories on bipolar disorder. The series is dedicated to those we have lost so needlessly to the disease.**
New Haven, CT - June 26, 2009 - Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million Americans and is the sixth most common disability worldwide. Those suffering from the illness exhibit reoccurring bouts of depression and mania - a destructive cycle that not only makes bipolar disorder the most expensive mental disorder in the country, but also significantly lowers patients' quality of life with frequent psychiatric hospital stays, emergency room visits, and other inpatient care.
In a recent study, however, a professor of dermatology at Harvard University Medical School, Joseph C. Kvedar, explored a possible solution to this problem by using daily mobile text messaging to combat sunscreen forgetfulness and perhaps prevent cancer. Kvedar, who presented his findings at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that text message reminders increase patient adherence by just over 25 percent.
Now, a recent study published in Volume 8 of the Annals of General Psychology has found that increasing antipsychotic medication adherence greatly decreases mental health related costs, hospital visits, and ER trips. Currently, almost half of bipolar patients are only partially adherent or non-adherent with their mood-stabilizing drugs such as antipsychotics, lithium, and antidepressants.
The six-year study followed 7,769 patients, ages 18-64, who were actively treated for their bipolar disorder. Researchers found that those with a 75% adherence rate were 16% less likely to require inpatient care, while those who were 95% adherent were 43% less likely to require hospitalization or ER treatment. Not surprisingly, higher rates of adherence led to better patient outcomes even when considering ER visits not directly related to their mental health diagnosis.
"Historically, long-term medication therapy and poor adherence go hand in hand, and it is no surprise that those taking prescription drugs for bipolar disorder struggle with medical adherence throughout their lives," said Kevin Aniskovich, Chief Executive of the healthcare communications company Intelecare, which specializes in personal medical reminders for healthy living. "This study give us empirical evidence that increasing adherence through any number of ways would be a major step toward keeping mentally ill patients healthy, stable, and out of the emergency room."
The researchers concluded that, considering the current low rates of adherence among the bipolar population, any efforts to increase medical compliance - even in small increments - would improve patient outcome, increase patient quality of life, and reduce overall healthcare costs.
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Established in 2005, Intelecare Compliance Solutions is a privately owned healthcare information technology company that provides an array of practical tools and services promoting medical adherence. With 84 percent of patients reporting forgetfulness as the major cause of non-compliance, and with the healthcare system suffering over $300 billion in costs annually due to non-compliance, Intelecare's solutions enable patients and caregivers alike to keep track of medications, doses, and doctor's appointments through the phone, mobile devices, and email - all while keeping simplicity, practicality, and innovation at the heart of its developments.
Aside from patient and caregiver services, Intelecare provides and manages a suite of scalable services for insurers, employers, retail pharmacies, non-profit organizations and pharmaceutical companies. Currently supporting millions of subscribers, Intelecare is dedicated to finding functional solutions to the widespread issue of medical non-compliance for individuals around the world that work the way people live.
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*Intelecare and the Intelecare motion logo are registered trademarks of Intelecare Compliance Solutions, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.