Taking Aim at Medication Adherence With Technology

(DGIwire)—Non-adherence to medication is a serious issue. According to a recent article, the pharma industry forgoes approximately $250 billion every year in lost sales as a result. Consequently, specialty pharmaceutical companies are taking aim at the problem in various ways, including harnessing new technology. One patient support initiative involves the development of realistic trainers intended for those who have been prescribed autoinjectors, prefilled syringes and pulmonary devices to deliver their medication.

“Patients who are able to get hands-on practice with autoinjection and inhalation devices not only gain experience and muscle memory, but increase confidence while reducing anxiety about administering their medications at home,” says Joe Reynolds, research manager at Noble. “The best devices are designed to most closely mimic the patient’s administration experience outside the doctor’s office.”

Noble has conducted various studies on the benefits of trainers for patients. Some of the most striking statistics indicate that almost two-thirds of patients report having a training device to practice with at home would help decrease their anxieties around self-injecting. Likewise, most stated that, on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest), a training device is at least a 7 in terms of importance when learning to self-inject.

The purpose of Noble’s training devices is to support patients who self-inject by offering them the opportunity to practice before self-injecting, or even practice between doses to combat natural memory decay. By practicing with these trainers, patients understand what using the real device will feel like and gain valuable insights that can guide them when they actually self-inject.

One of Noble’s products, AdhereIT, guides patients through injection steps and collects data on actual injections as well as trainers. An important part of monitoring adherence is ensuring patients continue to utilize autoinjector devices properly throughout each step of treatment. This starts with training and onboarding and is important throughout the drug therapy treatment to ensure successful injection each time. The advantage presented by AdhereIT is that, by being compatible with a wide range of commercially available devices, data on continued usage can be collected regardless of the autoinjector platform.

AdhereIT may provide the informative feedback that encourages patients to follow prescribed dosing regimens for longer periods of time. For their part, healthcare practitioners can provide new patients with a tool that offers an added layer of assurance that patients are properly self-injecting. The data collected by AdhereIT can be shared with the practitioner and reviewed for any irregularities that need to be discussed with the patient.

“Every type of stakeholder—patients, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies alike—stands to benefit when patients feel confident enough to use their devices consistently and in the proper manner,” Reynolds adds.