Telehealth, where various modes of communication are used in the absence of traditional face-to-face consultations between doctor and patient, have been proven to be efficacious in getting patients to adhere to the medical regimen prescribed for them, and thus eliminating costly hospital admissions for patients who neglect to take their medicine. Researchers estimate that a staggering 50 to 80 percent of patients neglect to adhere to their medication regimen; this neglect has resulted in 10 percent of hospital submissions, 125, 000 patient deaths per year, and an 89 billion dollar annual health care cost (“Can mHealth Help with Medication Adherence?”)
One notable example of where telehealth has been successful was during a study in which 25 patients were tracked over 11 weeks, and sent regular text messages which reminded them to take their medication. 89.5 percent of participants had high response levels, and reported positively about taking their medicine (“Can mHealth Help with Medication Adherence?”) The participants in this study ranked the following as the three most prohibitive factors to adhering to taking their medication: 1) feeling better; 2) simply forgetting to take their medicine, and 3) running out of their prescription.
The benefits of telehealth to the individual are obvious. Time-poor patients who struggle to make it to doctor’s appointments due to work or family commitments benefit from telehealth, as do individuals who live in remote areas where accessing regular medical appointments is difficult. In addition to these benefits, another pro of telehealth is the lack of expense for the patient, who, if they are adhering to their medical regimen, may lessen the need for expensive repeat visits to their doctor. When looking at the bigger picture, telehealth will lessen the burden on the health care system overall.
- “Can mHealth Help with Medicaton Adherence?” (2017). CTel. http://ctel.org/2017/05/canmhealth-help-with-medication-adherence/