Walgreens pill reminder, activity tracking both improved medication adherence in study

By Jonah Comstock
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Today Walgreens shared new data from two studies that show the company's mobile tools -- both its mobile pill reminder and its Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices platform -- improve medication adherence for 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,” Dr. Harry Leider, chief medical officer at Walgreens, said in a statement. “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.”

First, in a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, Walgreens found that Balance Rewards members over 50 years of age had better adherence to antihypertensive, oral antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic medications when they self-tracked their activity, blood pressure, or blood glucose. Six and a half thousand individuals participated in the study.

Adherence was measured in both studies using Percentage of Days Covered (PDC), and optimal PDC was at or better than 80 percent. Activity tracking led to 11.2 percent higher adherence for antihypertensives, 5.1 percent higher adherence for oral antidiabetics and 4.5 percent higher adherence for antihyperlipidemics. Tracking blood pressure or blood glucose led to 6.8 percent higher adherence for patients taking antihypertensives and 12.3 percent higher adherence for oral antidiabetics.

In another study, presented at Society of Behavioral Medicine's 37th Annual Meeting earlier this year, Walgreens demonstrated that users who took advantage of Walgreen's mobile pill reminder app were 12.3 percent more likely to have optimal adherence to oral antidiabetics, 11.3 percent more likely to have optimal adherence to antihypertensives and 9.1 percent more likely to have optimal adherence to antihyperlipidemics.

The data was collected in 2014, and Walgreens has shared some of it in the past.