12 September 2016

Recent company studies show pill reminder feature and activity tracking drive better medication adherence among pharmacy patients

DEERFIELD, Ill – September 12, 2016 – Two of Walgreens widely adopted digital health resources are helping to drive better medication adherence among users, according to two recent company studies.
 
Walgreens research shows that those over 50 years of age who track activities through its Balance® Rewards for healthy choices (BRhc) program, which awards loyalty points for healthy behaviors and activities, are more adherent to their medication therapies. A separate Walgreens study found that the pill reminder feature within the Walgreens mobile app is also demonstrating better optimal adherence[1] among users. 
 
“People increasingly want to become more engaged in their own health care, and with Walgreens digital health offerings, we give our customers the ability to positively impact their behaviors and overall health,” said Harry Leider, M.D., chief medical officer, Walgreens. “These latest studies show how active participation and use of digital tools can benefit the user. They can also provide incentives for health plans, employers and payers by helping to reduce health care costs among members.”
 
Research on Balance Rewards for healthy choices and patients over 50
This study examined the relationship between BRhc engagement and adherence to antihypertensive, oral antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic medications for patients ages 50 and older. The findings concluded that tracking physical activity four or more times per week were associated with significantly higher - optimal adherence to antihypertensive and antihyperlipidemic medication.[2] In addition, tracking blood pressure twice or more per week or tracking blood glucose once or more per week was associated with significantly better adherence to antihypertensive and oral antidiabetic medications.
 
Specific findings included:
 
  • Among BRhc members tracking physical activity, Walgreens observed greater rates of optimal adherence: 11.2 percent higher for antihypertensives, 5.1 percent higher for oral antidiabetics and 4.5 percent higher for antihyperlipidemics.
  • Among BRhc members tracking blood pressure or blood glucose, Walgreens observed greater optimal adherence: 6.8 percent higher for patients taking antihypertensives and 12.3 percent higher for oral antidiabetics.
The Walgreens retrospective cohort study examined patients who filled an antihypertensive, oral antidiabetic or antihyperlipidemic medication among those 50 years old or greater, between March and October 2014.
 
Research on mobile pill reminders
The other Walgreens study examined the linkage between patient forgetfulness and non-adherence to medications, and the effectiveness of a mobile pill reminder feature. The research found that utilization of the Walgreens mobile app pill reminder was associated with significantly higher optimal adherence to oral antidiabetic, antihypertensive and antihyperlipidemic medications.[3]
 
Results showed:
 
  • Among those who used the mobile pill reminder app, Walgreens observed greater optimal adherence: 12.3 percent higher for oral antidiabetics, 11.3 percent higher for antihypertensives and 9.1 percent higher for antihyperlipidemics.
To perform the study, Walgreens took a group comprised of patients who used the pill reminder and had oral antidiabetic, antihypertensive or antihyperlipidemic medications between an index period of January 2014 and September 2014 and compared to a control group comprised of those who did not use the pill reminder.
 
 
About Walgreens
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,173 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens omnichannel business includes Walgreens.com and VisionDirect.com. More than 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.
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[1]  Defined as having PDC (Proportion of Days Covered) >= 80%.  PDC is a PQA (Pharmacy Quality Alliance) recommended metric for estimating medication adherence and PQA selected PDC >=80% to be considered as highly-adherent.
[2] Akinbosoye O, Taylor D, Jiang J, Taitel M, Orr G. The Relationship Between Digital Health Program Activity Tracking and Medication Adherence Among Members Age 50+ years. JMCP APRIL 2016 Vol. 22, No.4-a S44
[3] Akinbosoye O, Jiang J, Taitel M, Orr G ‘The Association between Use of a Community Pharmacy’s Mobile Pill Reminder App and Medication Adherence’ Presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 37th Annual Meeting, March 30- April 2, 2016, Washington DC.