September 6, 2023

The role of technology in patient adherence

Technology permeates every aspect of our lives. It continually reshapes the way we communicate, live, work, and even manage our health. One of the most promising strides in healthcare technology is the pivotal role it plays in improving patient outcomes.

A frequent and long-encountered challenge for both healthcare brands and providers is patient adherence to treatment plans and corresponding medications, actions and lifestyle changes. Creating a habit is difficult for anyone, and adapting to changes in your health journey is no different. Adherence is made even more challenging by the fact that changes are often multi-pronged; a new regimen can include taking medication as prescribed, following dietary recommendations, attending regular appointments, and adopting lifestyle changes. That’s a lot to ask — but it’s also important. The impact of non-adherence is estimated to cost the healthcare industry billions of dollars annually, not to mention impacting the ability to drive optimal outcomes.

Fortunately, there are many things brands can do to improve patient adherence — and many of them involve leveraging technological advancements. Some of our favorite platforms to drive patient adherence are:

  • Patient Engagement Platforms: Web portals with complementing CRM support and, even better, mobile apps/communications are powerful tools in improving patient adherence. In fact, we’ve seen direct success of these tools through simple solutions such as reminders, patient empowerment and progress tracking to encourage patients in taking an active role in their treatment journey.
  • Remote Monitoring and Wearables: Approximately 45% of Americans have a smart watch and a growing number of remote monitoring solutions enter the market each year. With this comes a wealth of patient data that, when handled responsibly, can enable providers and brands to intervene promptly, provide more personalized care and help improve adherence to treatment plans.
  • Virtual On-Demand Support: The “always-on” flexibility of virtual consultations, access and appointments reduces the patient burden for in-person visits. This, in turn, can improve overall accessibility to services. Virtual consultations enable healthcare providers to meet patients in a way that’s convenient for them, which in turn can drive both patient satisfaction and adherence.

Regardless of delivery platform, strategies used to increase patient adherence should remain consistent. Emerging technology makes these strategies more obtainable to healthcare organizations of varying sizes. And, the impact AI will have on expanding opportunity for brands has only just begun. The most promising opportunities we see center around:

  • Personalized Education: Leveraging marketing automation to provide personalized educational content to foster a deeper understanding of the condition and importance of adherence.
  • Continuous Communication: Encouraging patient ownership of their health outcomes through timely inquiries, regular updates and prompt two-way communication to demonstrate commitment.
  • Reminders & Notifications: Harnessing engagement platforms that can automatically guide patients through low-burden (but powerful) nudges about medication schedules, upcoming appointments and critical milestones.
  • Incentives & Gamification: Making adherence an enjoyable experience by offering motivators and tapping into our inherent human desire to be ‘rewarded’ for our efforts.

Technology offers ample opportunity for healthcare brands of all sizes and resource levels to deliver better, more automated solutions to drive patient adherence and increase health outcomes. Schaefer Advertising is no stranger to this challenge and would welcome the opportunity to find the right solution for your organization that drives tangible results. Our team of experienced professionals brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and creativity to the table. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.