Patient med adherence climbs with EHR links to pharmacy

Patients whose electronic health records are integrated with pharmacies are more likely to fill their prescriptions, according to a recent Kaiser Permanente study.

The study, published online in the Journal of Internal Medicine, reported that when patients receive care in an integrated healthcare system whose EHRs are connected to the dispensing pharmacy they are more likely to collect the medications they need for their newly-diagnosed chronic conditions.

In the study of 12,041 people in Kaiser Permanente Colorado with newly ordered medications for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol, most patients followed through and picked up their medications; only 7 percent of patients prescribed blood pressure medication, 11 percent of those prescribed diabetic medications, and 13 percent prescribed cholesterol-reducing medications did not have their prescriptions filled.

In contrast, the study notes that noncompliance by patients in a non-integrated setting could be as high as 22 percent.

"Electronic health record medication order entry enhances the potential to identify patients with primary non-adherence, and in organizations with medical order entry and pharmacy information systems, orders can be linked to dispensings to identify primary non-adherent patients," the study authors wrote.

The study recommended that healthcare delivery systems pursue linking medication orders with dispensaries to identify the non-compliant, and encouraged further research to determine interventions to decrease patient non-adherence.

To learn more:
- read the press release 
- access the study