Medicare bill could fund SMS medication reminders

By Brian Dolan
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According to a recent study by Express Scripts, Americans might be wasting as much as $258 billion annually by not taking their prescribed medications. Missed doses can lead to emergency room visits and doctors' visits, which could be prevented if medication adherence was improved. The Express Scripts study found that more than half of people who believe they take their medications properly are not, according to a report in USA Today.

A similar study conducted by NEHI found that poor medication adherence results in illnesses and ensuing treatments that cost some $290 billion in unnecessary spending each year, $100 billion of that in avoidable hospitalizations alone.

Two members of Congress recently introduced bills to allow Medicare reimbursement for more patients to sit down with therapists one-on-one and equip patients with pill boxes or text message services that help patients become more adherent, the USA Today report said. (We have noted a number of mobile health services and devices that aim to tackle the medication adherence problem -- here's our coverage of mobile health medication adherence.)

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, introduced the bills.

The Toronto University College of Pharmacy conducted a study that found medication therapy saved about $93.78 per patient annually in a study of 23,798 people, USA Today reports.

For more read the USA Today article here