Revolutionizing Medication Adherence at the Point of Care

As healthcare marketers, we can tap the systemic power that spans point of care (POC) engagement to cure the endemic problem of medication nonadherence. POC marketing is not just a palliative. According to ZS research on POC effectiveness, POC initiatives measurably lift the ROI of healthcare marketing campaigns. Moreover, it also found that patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) are hungry for more and more frequently refreshed point of care resources and information. The need for easy-to-understand and personally applicable material is essential as patients move across their health journey. Patients need to first understand and agree to a prescription course, then be able to easily access information and medications, and finally correctly take medications. 

Raise Medication Adherence by Centering in on Patient Needs

By creating a system of patient-centered reminders, alerts, and support that seamlessly treats patient concerns and barriers at and across points of care, we can: 

  • Dramatically improve patient understanding

  • Simplify medication routines

  • Connect distributed care teams

  • Dismantle barriers 

  • Increase patient feedback and reporting efficacy 

  • Reduce unnecessary healthcare costs

  • Reduce unnecessary HCP visits and treatments 

  • And ultimately help patients get more effective treatment

The result? A transformative approach to adherence that drives better patient outcomes and revolutionizes the healthcare landscape at a critical time in US history.

Glass, water and woman with medicine on sofa for health, self care and supplement at home. Relax, healthcare and happy african person with liquid drink and pill or tablet for Rx Adherence

Facts on Rx Non-Adherence

One poll by Phreesia (2022) highlights how Point of Care solutions are needed to help patients and healthcare providers increase adherence, finding patient beliefs and understanding play a large role in non-adherence:

  • 1 in 5 patients have not filled a prescription in the past. Patients reported similar rates for not filling new medication (40%) and refill (37%) prescriptions 

  • Top reasons people reported not filling a new prescription were side effects (29%) and being unconvinced of their need for the medication (28%)

  • Among those that did not fill existing medications, the primary reason was that they didn’t think they needed it anymore (30%).    

  • 1 in 4 or more patients do not have a very good understanding of the next steps about their prescription medications (25%) or how to manage their condition (29%) immediately following a healthcare visit

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Empowering Patients Through Education

Studies consistently show that medication literacy and understanding are crucial drivers of adherence. By providing easily digestible materials to patients and caregivers in both print and digital formats, we can build trust, increase willingness to adhere to treatment plans, and set clear expectations around potential side effects. This proactive approach to patient education not only boosts adherence but also fosters more open and productive dialogues between patients and their care teams.

Patient education can be created directly for healthcare consumers, or to support healthcare providers and educate staff or caregivers. The important thing is to help simplify medspeak, provide patient-centered content, and create environments that nurture understanding in a variety of ways that positively reach patients when they are most receptive. Health literacy is only one barrier POC marketers can help with. Patient understanding may require materials they can access on their own or take home, condition guides, or include for cognitive and physical limitations in addition to being sensitive to intense care journeys. 

Simplifying Medication Routines

Complicated medication schedules and dosages can be a major barrier to adherence. That’s where POC marketing comes in. By leveraging both analog tools like medication punch cards and digital solutions like mobile apps, we can help patients navigate their treatment plans with ease. The key is to provide clear, actionable guidance on how to schedule medications around daily routines, dietary restrictions, and other personal factors. When we make adherence convenient and intuitive, patients are far more likely to stay on track.

Consider tapping into the momentum of patients’ existing habits and lifestyles. Increases in the regular use of wearables and health tracking apps can complement POC adherence strategies or be leveraged to help patients accurately report or discuss medication with healthcare professionals. Unintentional nonadherence can possibly be triaged by low maintenance, friendly adherence aids. 

Finally, remember that patients may not know they are taking medications incorrectly. Equip patients, caregivers and healthcare providers and their teams with tools to identify and talk confidently with issues with medication adherence. 

Granddaughter helping with medication adherence

Connect Care Teams to Break Down Barriers

It takes a village! Or at least a protean health ecosystem. Effective medication adherence requires a coordinated effort from multiple stakeholders, including physicians, pharmacists, and caregivers. As POC marketers, we can play a vital role in connecting these distributed care teams and creating safe, stigma-free spaces for patients to ask questions and voice concerns. Care teams are more disconnected than patients may realize, assuming that digital records mean cross-functional transparency. HiPPA protects patient data, but can also create misconceptions about how in-the-know care providers are when patients go out of network or have nontraditional health factors. Helping patients and care teams speak to and understand one another could pop dangerous bubbles that create patient confusion.  

Not to beat a drum, but integrating medical apps and non-traditional data tracking tools, we can facilitate seamless reporting and empower care providers to proactively address adherence issues. Additionally, partnering with community influencers and local organizations can help expand our reach and build trust among diverse patient populations.

Embrace the New Era of Healthcare Consumerism

In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, patients are increasingly turning to personalized content, new digital resources, wellness trends, and alternative care options to manage their health. As POC marketers, we must adapt our strategies to meet patients where they are. This means leveraging digital portals, personalized print materials, mobile apps, and emerging POC locations to create a cohesive, omnichannel messaging experience. By anticipating and addressing patient needs across multiple touchpoints, we can provide the right information and support at the right time, ultimately driving better adherence outcomes.

Integrate Point of Care Strategies to Optimize Marketing Reach to Patients and Providers

To create truly effective POC adherence initiatives, we need a clear, data-driven framework. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Identify target barriers: Dive deep into patient data and research to pinpoint the most pressing adherence barriers for your specific audience and how it intersects with healthcare professionals and settings. Do not be shy about initiating new research!

     

  2. Select appropriate channels: Choose the POC channels and touchpoints that best align with your target patients’ preferences and behaviors.

     

  3. Craft compelling messages: Develop patient-centered and HCP messaging directly addresses identified barriers and motivates action.

     

  4. Implement and monitor: Launch your POC initiatives and closely track key metrics like adherence rates, patient engagement, and health outcomes.

     

  5. Refine and optimize: Continuously analyze performance data and user feedback to refine your strategies for maximum impact.


By following this systematic approach, healthcare marketers can develop highly targeted, evidence-based POC strategies that drive real results.

Rx Adherence acknowledging barriers for disabled people at home. Shot given to black male handicapped patient in wheelchair.

Tailoring Point of Care Strategies to Adherence Barriers

Every patient population faces unique challenges when it comes to medication adherence. That’s why it’s crucial to tailor our POC strategies to address the specific barriers identified through research and data analysis  (Divine et al 2018). The table below highlights some of the most common adherence barriers and corresponding POC opportunities:

See more on barriers to care in “Understanding Rx NonAdherence”

Barriers fall into two main categories: those rooted in the healthcare system or provider and those that benefit most from addressing the patient. Below are the barriers and potential Point of Care Marketing solutions.

By categorizing barriers and developing targeted solutions for both healthcare system-centered and patient-centered challenges, we can create meaningful interventions that move the needle on adherence.

Healthcare System and HCP Centered Barriers + Point of Care Solutions

BARRIER

  POC Solution

Health Literacy

Medical language is too hard and explanations are not enough

  • Easy to read patient materials at POC
  • Educational materials to assist HCPs 
  • Materials created in print and digital at 6th grade reading level 
  • Digital and print explainers targeted for pre- and post- visit/ diagnosis

Lack of Rx Knowledge

Not enough information about medicines

  • Rx Guides in plain speak 
  • Set expectations about side effects and how to handle them 
  • Caregiver support and educational materials and resources 
  • Clear information about health complications when Rx is not or incorrectly used 
  • HCP information about FAQs from Rx patients

Poor HCP Communication

HCPs not sufficiently explaining treatment plans and addressing concerns

  • Patient or trigger-based information to help prepare HCPs 
  • HCP programs and tools to better talk with patients 
  • HCP guides to ask questions for patients that predict real-life Rx journey 
  • HCP guides to determine accessibility 
  • HCP education on trending patient Rx beliefs and behaviors

Pill Burden / Intense Rx Regimen

Too many Rx’s or too often is hard to handle

  • Work on simpler pill plans and make tools to help patients 
  • Look at pharmacy digital and print medication reminders 
  • Caregiver support materials for Rx routines 
  • Support programs and materials that address challenges

Change to Routine

Rx plans conflict and do not fit with daily life

  • Patient-centered and flexible plans and tools to fit Rxs into routines 
  • Patient data 
  • Non-traditional data and tools, including links to wellness devices and apps

Patient Centered Barriers + Point of Care Solutions

BARRIER

    POC Solution

No HCP Trust

Patients don’t trust HCPs

  • Teach patients how to talk to HCPs and 
  • Self-advocate 
  • Show importance of open and honest sharing 
  • Drive better patient experiences 
  • Support HCP workflows and EHR experiences for better time with patients 
  • Increase patient support in HCP spaces to build reliability 
  • Facilitate and expand patient communications with HCPs and care teams

Side Effects Concerns

Anxiety around Rx side effects

  • Clear and head-on info about side effects and how to deal with them 
  • Caregiver support 
  • Patient stories about handling side effects 
  • Provide ways to report and talk about side effects 
  • Support groups and peer-to-peer content

Rx Beliefs

Patients don’t believe Rx will work or suit them; belief in Rx alternatives

  • Explain common wrong ideas about Rx’s 
  • Info on why it’s important to follow Rx plan and use instructions 
  • Create forums and channels to discuss Rx alternatives, questions, and beliefs 
  • Consider complimentary integration of competing beliefs (instead of battling them)

View on Symptoms (Feel Fine)

Lack of info on asymptomatic conditions or consequences of nonadherence

  • Educational materials on asymptomatic conditions and Rx impact 
  • Support lifestyle changes that make lifelong treatments more doable 
  • Patient stories

Forgot

Overly reliant on patient memory and routine

  • Reminder and alert tools and technologies 
  • Encourage in-person pharmacy relationships 
  • Printable medicine schedules and trackers 
  • Get caregivers involved 
  • Embrace nontraditional apps and digital tools people are used to

Depression

Lack of motivation or focus on Rx

  • Proactively address mental health effects of medicines 
  • Educate and equip caregivers on effects and support strategies
  • Create ways for patients to get help quickly 
  • Address non-medical, condition-related mental health impacts 
  • Use existing or develop mental health trackers to help with reporting and awareness

Cost / Uncovered

Rx is too expensive

  • Assist with insurance and assistance programs 
  • Easy couponing and rebates at multiple POCs 
  • Resources for finding cheaper Rx options 
  • Proactive followup on abandoned or irregularly filled Rxs 
  • Facilitate easy feedback on cost concerns Integrate prescribers in addressing cost concerns ahead of prescription

No Caregiver

Patient is unsupported

  • Patient support services 
  • Community engagement, programming, and partnerships 
  • Peer-to-peer forums, groups, and resources 
  • Track and make care teams aware of unsupported status 
  • Help create caregivers through education and support

Secrecy / Stigma

Patient beliefs, challenges, or conflicts around condition or life is under-addressed

  • Teach how stigma affects taking Rx’s 
  • Proactively encourage conversations around sensitive topics 
  • Teach HCPs safe and effective communication strategies around stigmas 
  • Help in-person HCPs like pharmacists how to identify and make at risk patients feel safe 
  • Patient stories and content

Access (Healthcare / Resources)

Environmental, geographical, physical, or economic challenges

  • Provide resources in real world contexts, like community hubs, as well as POCs 
  • Make accessibility visible 
  • Ensure telemedicine and remote options 
  • Provide easily shareable content, such as print brochures

Cultural Beliefs

Treatment doesn’t match with cultural beliefs

  • Inclusive patient education 
  • Resources for talking about cultural beliefs with HCPs 
  • Community based programs and materials that include cultural beliefs

Busy

Rx instructions or plan does not work with schedule, lifestyle, or responsibilities

  • Adapt Rx plans and routines to patient schedules 
  • Allow easy pathways for change Explain the importance of schedules 
  • Create tools for patient data ahead of prescribing 
  • Resources for fitting Rx’s into daily life

Education Level

Patient information or resources is not aligned to education level

  • Make patient education materials at highly accessible levels (Grade 6 or below) 
  • Use pictures and visuals to explain information 
  • Community education programs and workshops

POC Tools & Tactics to Address Rx Non-Adherence

Point of Care Marketing Association members butter their bread in the trenches, battling non-adherence and engagement obstacles daily. Here are a few real-world tactics and tools they have developed to raze barriers: 

Post-Script Patient Engagement + Patient Insights

Honing in on the moments after a visit, helping both the patient and the healthcare provider to track patient Rx behaviors and successfully take medication. The award-winning Phreesia postscript engagement tool:

  • Reminds patients about prescriptions, assesses barriers, and connects them with relevant support content for first time prescriptions and refills. 

  • Automates digital engagement, triggering through the EHR upon prescription

  • Builds patient confidence with curated content in a privacy-safe manner 

  • Reports insights to doctors with insights on barriers like financial constraints and Rx concerns

  • Reporting available to brands to increase understanding of patient Rx journey

  • Brands are able to deliver content that is highly relevant to the patient, including copay cards and support guides

Digital & In-Person Support

Combining various types of media and engagement methods is crucial for increasing accessibility and building Rx adherence. By providing multiple touchpoints and reinforcing key messages across different mediums, patients are more likely to internalize the importance of adherence and take action to follow their prescribed treatment plans. They may see a digital screen and take home a pamphlet to share with a key family member. 

InStep Health blends digital and print resources that reach both patients and providers to foster more comprehensive care option discussions and decisions.

Digital Tactics:

  • Display ads within EHR systems to integrate adherence-promoting messages into providers’ workflows to create highly personalized, patient-based treatment recommendations via the inReach EHR Platform 
  • inReach digital ads and messaging connects everyone to the right information, targeting providers, office staff, and patients with mobile ads through office WiFi for more aligned patient treatment decisions

     

Print Tactics:

  • Patient and Provider Posters featuring educational content to influence treatment decisions and foster adherence discussions with inOffice printed materials
  • inStore printed materials include Pharmacy Displays with educational booklets and prescription discount offers, and Pharmacist Education Kits to encourage pharmacist-patient communication help boost adherence when fulfilling Rx’s 

Accessible Patient-Friendly Content

How you speak to patients is as important as what you’re telling them. Offering quick, easy-to-read resources that help patients get the right information, ask the right questions, and build the right behaviors to be successful with their medications is showcased in PatientPoint content:

In the Waiting Room, short explainer videos drive behavior:  

Articles for patients highlight challenges and help solve them:

Mom telling kids about Rx Medicine

Empowering Patients

Empowering patients with content that helps them make good decisions is invaluable to the patient, and also the healthcare practitioner. Tailored to specific therapy areas to deliver highly relevant content, Health Monitor’s Digital Exam Room Screens seen here and Print Education Guides activate patient engagement and drive adherence. Specific tools include: 

  • Questions for the doctor
  • Symptom trackers
  • Condition assessments
  • Quizzes

     

The goal of these specific tools is for the patient to (1) partner with their HCPs, (2) understand how treatments can help, (3) learn why to keep taking them and (4) how to know they are working, and finally (5) be patient with results. Different forms of content allow patients to get in-the-moment guidance or dive deep on conditions in their own time. 

Education for Everyone in the Care Team

The patient is only one part of building adherence. Supporting hospitals to help drive adherence, WebMD Ignite creates a series of videos that help healthcare providers and teams understand and address barriers to Rx adherence, including:  

  • Medication Safety (during Hospital Stay) 
  • Medication Management for Seniors 
  • Can I Split My Pills? 
  • Tips for Swallowing Pills?
  • Storing Medications

Leverage Rx Touchpoints with End-to-End Messaging in Workflows

Connecting patients, prescribers and pharmacists to clinical and educational information as well as prescription affordability offers in workflow through EHR and pharmacy systems can help everyone involved in the care journey aligned on the best treatments and medications for a particular patient. Messaging programs help drive awareness and adherence across critical touchpoints in the prescription process, and client pharmaceutical brands have seen script lift as a result.

For ConnectiveRx, their end-to-end Point of Care messaging solutions use multiple paths to create comprehensive adherence interventions, including: 

  • PhysicianCare EHR display messaging: PhysicianCare solutions deliver key messaging in the HCP workflow and include opportunities at login, while in the patient chart, in the administration inbox, ePrescribing and during pricing transparency at the Real Time Benefit Check (RTBC).

  • ScriptGuide with patient texting option and copay offers: EHR-generated patient communication and patient savings alerts delivered to patients help to start patients on the path to medication adherence with education materials on their condition, medication use and valuable patient savings offers.

  • CarePoints – in Pharmacy point of care: Delivered via the pharmacy software system with their dispensed prescription, CarePoints delivers personalized messages to help patients adhere to their medication therapy. Additional offers include savings and support information for patients who may be at risk for certain conditions or benefit from additional information on different medications.

The Future of Adherence is in Our Hands

As healthcare marketers, we have a unique opportunity to drive transformative change in patient outcomes. By leveraging the power of POC marketing to create a cohesive, patient-centered approach to medication adherence, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of countless individuals. But we can’t do it alone. It’s time to break down silos, collaborate with key stakeholders, and share our collective knowledge and expertise. Together, we can build a future where every patient has the support and resources they need to achieve optimal health.

So let’s take action. Let’s innovate, experiment, and push the boundaries of what’s possible in POC marketing. Let’s create a world where medication adherence is the norm, not the exception. The future of healthcare is in our hands – let’s make it a brighter one for all.

Have Something to Add?

If you are a healthcare or pharmaceutical marketer that has something to say about this topic or add to the article, we would love to hear from you. Contact us at for an opportunity to weigh-in on adherence and how we need to rethink, renovate, and invent medication adherence solutions. 

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