Digital innovations critical to improving medical adherence and reducing pressure on NHS

Digital innovations will be increasingly crucial to reducing pressure on the NHS and improving medication adherence rates and outcomes among the estimated 6.8 million people in the UK living with a health condition that could be appropriate for clinical homecare.

This was the message from Ejike Nwokoro, Patients Insights and Data Strategy Manager, at HealthNet Homecare, speaking at the recent Digital Health World Congress in London.

“According to a recent NCHA (National Clinical Homecare Association) report, around 31 million people in the UK say they are living with at least one long-term health condition,” says Nwokoro. “Up to 50% of medications, though, are not taken as prescribed, which has clinical implications for the patient. Previous research has also shown, that wasted medicine costs the NHS some £375 million a year, and the costs to NHS England of non-adherence is over £930 million per year across just five disease areas.”

This is where clinical homecare services can deliver some real value, continues Ejike, because they are designed to support treatment initiation and adherence, and are typically aimed at patients with long-term or chronic health conditions. These are patients who would otherwise require regular visits to a hospital or a pharmacy to receive treatment. .

“That same NCHA report found that £264 million of annual value is delivered, says Ejike, about clinical home care, whose contribution is equivalent to 15 NHS Trusts worth of day case elective capacity.

For HealthNet, which supports over 160,000 patients, we have seen that when patients receive an enhanced clinical homecare service from us, the proportion who drop off treatment is relatively fewer compared to those who receive only a simple dispense and delivery service (1.1% compared to 2.8% respectively)”.

Notably, says Nwokoro, these gains are intrinsically linked to the introduction of innovative digital health solutions. These include a HealthNet Clinician Gateway, which enables NHS clinicians to refer patients to homecare much faster; a HealthNet Clinical Platform, that is tailorable to indication requirements and medication type, and which enables the real time sharing of home visit data with the NHS; a HealthNet Patient Portal, which means patients can track and manage medicine stock and deliveries.

But with NHS waiting times at a record high, how can more cutting-edge technology be used to provide tailored support and relieve some of this pressure?

“Research has shown that the dynamic prediction of risk of non-adherence to medication can allow for the efficient deployment of interventions that are known to be effective in improving adherence,” he adds.

“By understanding who is most at risk, our AdherePredict system allows mitigating interventions to be targeted more meaningfully, earlier and more cost effectively.”


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