A multidisciplinary effort is under way at UC to improve medication adherence in patients with hypertension thanks to a one-year $50,000 award from the Ohio Partnership for Adherence through Collaborative Education (PACE) Foundation and Pfizer, Inc.
The partnership, which involves experts at the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, the UC College of Medicine and the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, will involve a quarterly lecture series to educate health care providers and the development of tools to help track medication adherence.
OhioPACE is a coalition of continuing medical education offices from the seven Ohio colleges of medicine, including the UC College of Medicine.
"Hypertension affects one in three American adults and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality due to end-organ damage, like stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and kidney failure,” says Charuhas Thakar, MD, associate professor of medicine at UC, chief of the renal section at the Cincinnati VA and principal investigator and director of this program. "Less than a third of hypertensive patients are optimally treated.
"Medication adherence is critical to achieve adequate blood pressure control, and increased adherence reduces risks of hospitalizations and health care costs. Using this award, our team will focus on a series of educational activities and self-assessment tools to improve the ability of the provider to monitor adherence in high-risk subjects, and in turn improve the care delivered in our clinics and hospitals.”
Thakar says the tools being developed will provide real-time assessment of patients’ medication adherence via electronic medical records, allowing health care providers to implement strategies to improve adherence as well as avoid potentially unnecessary escalation of treatment. There will also be reflective exercises and self-assessments to evaluate how beneficial the interventions are to patients.
In addition to improving the quality of life for patients and reducing costs due to hospital stays, Thakar says the hope is that physicians will walk away realizing how truly important medical adherence is for these patients and will work to improve both their adherence and their knowledge of risks.
"This program allows us to focus on provider and system-related aspects of adherence and provides us with an opportunity to incorporate the importance of medication adherence assessment in clinical practice,” he says. "We hope that this program will translate into an institutionally-supported program that is dedicated to assessing and improving medication adherence in specific clinical conditions with a goal to improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs.
"Our ongoing clinical research and quality improvement efforts will allow us to measure annual trends in medication adherence in hypertension management across our institution and also compare them before and after these steps our implemented.”