Medication adherence plays a crucial role in behavioral health. For individuals grappling with mental health disorders or behavioral conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, consistently taking prescribed medications is vital for achieving positive outcomes. Remote medication monitoring can help them adhere to their medications and meet their health goals.
Over the past decade, pervasive staffing shortages in the behavioral health industry have presented numerous challenges to the delivery of essential services. Medication management can be time-consuming at best, and with fewer workers to assist, dispensing and monitoring individual doses, along with keeping track of various drugs and potential interactions, can feel nearly impossible.
Medherent, a medication adherence technology, has emerged as a promising solution to help relieve the burden of medication monitoring from overworked staff and empower those with behavioral health disorders to take control of their own medications.
The Challenge: Medication Adherence in Complex Populations
Emphasizing and supporting medication adherence among behavioral health communities is an essential aspect of their overall care, promoting stability, improved quality of life, and better long-term prognosis. Unfortunately, individuals with serious mental illnesses often face barriers to adhering to medication regimens due to their own unique circumstances.
According to an article with data compiled by Dr. Mansoor Malik and Dr. Suneeta Kumari in the Psychiatric Times, those with psychiatric disorders often have a higher non-adherence rate: 61% of individuals with schizophrenia and 57% of people with bipolar disorder struggled with treatment adherence. The challenges facing this population are compounded by the high number of behavioral health consumers who also suffer from other chronic diseases. Some factors that contribute to non-adherence include complex drug regimens, affordability issues, and limited access to pharmacies and medical providers.
When people miss their medication, it leads to adverse health outcomes, increased healthcare costs, and reduced life expectancy. Current medication monitoring practices, such as direct observation in residential programs, are labor-intensive, prone to errors, and time-consuming for both individuals and healthcare providers.
The Solution: Improving Healthcare Delivery and Reducing Burden
Medherent is a revolutionary remote medication adherence platform designed to improve outcomes. Medherent addresses the hardships that caregivers often face in an understaffed environment, offering a streamlined approach to medication management by automating the dispensing process and reducing the administrative burden, alleviating the strain on overworked staff and enhancing overall patient care quality. The platform also gives individuals increased independence to manage medications on their own as appropriate.
The Medherent device is a cutting-edge technology that combines advanced hardware and intelligent software to dispense precisely timed, individually packaged medication doses to each user. Small enough to be mounted in any home, Medherent alerts consumers when it is time to take their prescriptions and provides their medications at the touch of a button.
With a user-friendly interface, real-time alerts for missed doses, and integration with other health monitoring devices such as blood pressure cuffs and glucometers, Medherent was designed specifically to meet the needs of behavioral health and IDD populations. It is accessible, easy to use, and helps individuals take charge of their medication without a caregiver present.
The implementation of Medherent involves hands-on training for consumers and employees by pharmacy representatives. Staff will have access to comprehensive support and ongoing education, ensuring a seamless integration into existing workflows and maximizing the benefits for both patients and caregivers.
Results: Better Care, Reduced Risk, Financial Savings
The implementation of Medherent brings several benefits to both individuals suffering from behavioral health disorders and healthcare providers, including:
- Improved Consumer Experience
Individuals in need of behavioral health care often feel powerless over their treatment. Medherent devices are fully customizable, so agencies can adjust the level of independence that each user has to empower them to become part of the healing journey. This independence is crucial, as it directly influences their overall well-being and treatment outcomes.
Research shows that when people with behavioral health diagnoses feel empowered, they are more likely to engage in treatment, follow prescribed medication regimens, and adopt healthy coping strategies1. Empowerment also helps individuals develop a positive mindset, build self-esteem, and regain a sense of purpose and direction. Ultimately, when people feel empowered, they are better equipped to manage their conditions, make informed decisions, and lead fulfilling lives2.
In giving individuals more autonomy, Medherent also plays a significant role in improving relationships between individuals and staff members. Without the need for constant monitoring or supervision by staff, there is a more balanced and collaborative dynamic. Reduced power struggles contribute to more positive and respectful interactions with staff members. This improvement in the relationship between individuals and staff members cultivates a supportive and trusting environment, where individuals feel valued, respected, and heard.
By automating the medication monitoring process, Medherent eliminates the potential for human error in medication administration. The system utilizes advanced technology to accurately manage medication schedules and dispense the correct dosage. The device alerts individuals when it is time to take their medication, and, once a pin has been entered, releases the correct dose.
Moreover, Medherent employs built-in safety checks to confirm adherence. If the medication is not accessed on time, an alert is sent to caregivers to help ensure that everyone stays on track.
These features significantly reduce the risk of incorrect or missed doses, which can have serious consequences for overall health. By improving medication accuracy and adherence, Medherent ultimately enhances safety, minimizes adverse events, and contributes to more effective and efficient healthcare delivery.
Medherent brings about substantial cost savings in healthcare by significantly reducing the need for emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
Statistics from one agency partner, Go Getters/Lower Shore (LSC), showed that Medherent demonstrated a remarkable 25% reduction in emergency room visits among those utilizing the system3. This decrease in emergency room utilization not only alleviates the burden on healthcare facilities but also translates into substantial cost savings for both individuals and healthcare systems. In data from that same source, Medherent showed a 40% reduction in healthcare expenditures related to emergency room and hospital visits.
Behavioral health conditions can be chronic and require long-term management, resulting in recurring healthcare expenses. By minimizing these costs, healthcare providers can allocate resources more efficiently, ensuring that essential services and treatments are accessible to a larger population of individuals in need.
- A solution to staffing shortages and enhanced client care
The Medherent solution significantly reduces the time burden on staff, as supported by research conducted by the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The findings indicate that for a consumer with a medication regimen consisting of three medications taken twice a day, including a controlled medication such as a benzodiazepine or opiate, face-to-face medication management requires an average of 7.6 hours per month per consumer. This encompasses various tasks such as directly observing and documenting medication consumption, tracking and counting controlled medications, medication packing, and monthly medication administration record (MAR) accounting.
Medherent steps in as a reliable substitute, streamlining and enhancing these processes. By automating medication monitoring and management, Medherent frees up staff from the labor-intensive aspects of medication supervision, allowing for a more efficient utilization of limited direct support personnel. This time-saving aspect not only improves staff productivity but also enables them to allocate more attention and care to other essential areas of individual support and engagement.
One of the key strengths of Medherent lies in its seamless integration with telehealth platforms, facilitating remote monitoring and communication between healthcare providers and their clients. This integration empowers caregivers to stay connected with their charges in real-time, allowing them to address emerging issues promptly and provide necessary guidance or adjustments to the treatment plan. By leveraging telehealth capabilities, Medherent ensures that healthcare professionals can intervene swiftly and effectively, even from a distance.
This timely intervention plays a crucial role in preventing potential health setbacks, reducing the risk of complications, reducing the need for intensive treatments, and maintaining optimal well-being for individuals under behavioral health care. Whether it’s adjusting medication dosages, addressing side effects, or providing immediate support during critical moments, Medherent’s integration with telehealth enhances the responsiveness of care, promoting better health outcomes and a higher level of consumer satisfaction.
Medherent offers a promising solution for improving medication adherence, reducing healthcare costs, and enhancing behavioral health outcomes, especially for complex populations. By leveraging technological innovations like Medherent, healthcare providers can address the challenges faced by individuals with chronic conditions and promote better health equity and social determinants of health.
- Health Affairs: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/abs/10.1377/hlthaff.2012.1061?journalCode=hlthaff
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4963667/
- Terrapin Pharmacy: https://terrapinpharmacy.com/wp-content/filemgr/2022/06/Terrapin-Research-Results-White-Paper.pdf