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Practice Management: PCMH Patients More Likely to Use Meds as Directed

by HealthLeaders Media Staff

Originally published by MedPage Today

Patients in patient-centered medical homes are 2% to 3% more likely to take medicine as instructed than those in traditional practices, according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School reviewed national claims data from the insurer Aetna, including patient-level claims for outpatient pharmacy prescription drug claims.

They compared patients enrolled in 3,533 medical homes to those treated at more than 50,000 control practices. All patients used medications for three chronic conditions -- diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

The study compared medication use for these patients to other patients in the same region by looking at the days covered by prescription claims for the same or similar medications.

The researchers found that patients seen at medical homes had levels of adherence that were an average of 2% to 3% higher than patients receiving care in other practices.

"In chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia, medication adherence (the extent to which patients take their medications as prescribed) has become a growing concern for clinicians and payers," the researchers noted. "Poor adherence is strongly associated with worse patient outcomes and high healthcare spending."

Although the study authors acknowledged the limitations of claims data, they concluded that "medical homes were shown to lead to significantly better medication adherence, a vital measure of health care quality for chronic diseases."

Adults with chronic conditions leave up to 30% of new prescriptions unfilled and properly take only about 50% of chronic disease medications, according to an editorial that accompanied the research.

"The current study represents a useful initial step toward longer-term studies of diverse populations that examine adherence, clinical, and other patient-centered outcomes associated with different types of patient-centered medical homes," the editorial stated.

This report is brought to you by HealthLeaders Media.

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