Clover Assistant shows improved patient adherence for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol medications

Clover Assistant, a web application integrated into electronic health records showing a patient's medical history, may encourage a patient to adhere to medication, a new study by Clover Health claims.

The report shows a positive correlation between increased medication fills for patients who are traditionally characterized as nonadherent when Clover Assistant is utilized. Clover Health found that prescription fill rates improved by around 7% for diabetes medications on the day of the visit, 8% for high blood pressure medications and nearly 4% for high cholesterol medications when patients received a Clover Assistant notification.

“Clinicians have no idea if patients pick up their prescribed medications at the pharmacy," said Kumar Dharmarajan, M.D., chief medical officer of Clover Assistant and lead author of the study. "This is a glaring blindspot. While it may seem simple, letting doctors know that their patients have not picked up their refills can prompt conversations to understand the root cause of the nonadherence and drive meaningful increases in medication fills, as our research shows."

Clover Assistant uses pharmacy data to contact primary care providers when patients have yet to pick up medications, helping primary care providers identify and understand the patient's thought process, the report said. This practice began in April, first starting with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol medications. Refills were "flagged" if a prescription was not picked up under certain circumstances.

A 2011 study in Health Affairs shed light on how medication adherence reduces healthcare costs for insurers, providers and patients, building on other studies that highlight adherence's relation to better health outcomes. Analysis in the American Journal of Medical Sciences reveals that more than 50% of patients do not adhere to medication prescriptions as intended.

Patient adherence to medication is a major focal point of Medicare Advantage plans because of its importance in star ratings calculations. Low star rating scores lead to reduced quality-related payments, impacting the resources health plans can use to attract and retain members. Medication adherence, in particular, is a triple-weighted measure.

This study was based on data from nearly 100,000 Clover Health members from 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023, excluding data that could be impacted by COVID-19. They then focused on the subset of 11,270 members who did not refill their medication between four and 30 days after their last medication fill elapsed but also visited with a primary care provider.

"Medication fills increased by 4.8% on the day of the Clover Assistant visit and remained 2.6% higher 90 days after the visit, suggesting a durable impact," the study said. "This increased rate of medication fills from this notification feature would be expected to lead to a significant 1.4% increase in the percent of days covered metric on an annualized basis."

Clover previously released reports showing the benefits of Clover Assistant on treating diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Among the findings, Clover Assistant was associated with quicker diabetes diagnosis and treatment, as well as quicker chronic kidney disease diagnosis.