Episode 19: Improving Medication Adherence to Enable Better Outcomes

Jason Rose, CEO of AdhereHealth, shares how his company uses analytics to identify gaps in the healthcare system around medication adherence

Jason Rose was passionate about healthcare innovation long before it was a popular subject, convincing his university to let him study technology along with his master’s in healthcare administration.

As CEO of AdhereHealth, Rose uses technology and analytics to understand issues and gaps in the healthcare system which lead to poor medication adherence, working with patients and clinicians to provide better outcomes across the board.

In this episode of How I Transformed This, Virsys12 founder and CEO Tammy Hawes and her co-host Clark Buckner talk with Jason RoseRose about the need for better medication adherence, especially during COVID-19.

Using Analytics to Improve Adherence

Medication adherence is a significant issue in the American healthcare system, as 50 percent of Americans don’t take their medications. Rose cited a study which said that this problem leads to “half a trillion dollars of unnecessary medical costs associated with medication adherence issues” every year.

“These are patients that are not taking their drugs at all when they’re first diagnosed with issues and prescribed medications, not taking their medications per evidence-based guidelines, and maybe not discontinuing drugs when they should,” he explained.

At AdhereHealth, they understand this lack of adherence is closely tied to social determinants of health. Those determinants impact people’s understanding of how and why they should take their prescriptions and can affect people’s access to resources like pharmacies and knowledgeable professionals. 

To tackle this problem, AdhereHealth uses data to understand some of the biggest factors that cause adherence problems, like diagnoses that haven’t been prescribed properly or patients that don’t take their drugs like they should. 

“We work with about 30 million consumers on an annual basis, leveraging the data — medical data, pharmacy data, hospital discharge data, eligibility data, other factors — from managed care organizations,” Rose said. “And we translate those analytics daily into a clinical workflow software platform.”

The company then works directly with patients, doctors and pharmacists to help overcome those issues, pairing real-time data with a qualitative understanding of the real issues patients deal with.

“We put our money where our mouth is,” Rose emphasized. “We only get paid when we’re successfully converting patients to be more adherent.”

Medication Adherence During COVID-19

Medication adherence was already a major problem, but since the start of COVID-19, it has become even more significant. Early on in the pandemic, the CDC reported that 90 percent of hospitalizations involved patients with underlying health conditions, and 75 percent of hospitalizations involved elderly patients, Rose shared.

“Those are the exact same patients that were causing the half a trillion dollars of medical costs before COVID,” he explained.

AdhereHealth is working hard to help those at-risk patients leverage telehealth services and ensure they’re taking their medications correctly. This work is always important, but right now, it could save lives and slow the spread of the pandemic.

“If the patients that are at most risk actually were taking their medications as prescribed and as they should per evidence-based guidelines, we would actually put a major dent into the mortality of those patients,” Rose predicted.

Leveraging Technology Internally

As a tech company that has grown dramatically in the past few years, AdhereHealth also relies heavily on technology to ensure the business’ scalability. The company uses Salesforce to manage customer relationships, along with marketing tools that work to expand the customer base further. 

With Salesforce, the team has grown its network of contacts to 100,000, about 40 times more than what they had two years ago, Rose estimated. Those contacts then integrate into the marketing platform, which sends out helpful content, usually thought leadership around medication adherence.

Rose, who recognized the importance of strong internal systems early on, believes this strategic use of technology has been instrumental in the company’s growth, allowing a smooth transition as the sales team grew from 3 or 4 people to 35 in just two years. 

“If we’re going to go to market and sell these awesome platforms that drive healthcare recruitment, then we really need to be offering in the same way internally, otherwise it’s fake. So we really strive to leverage process and tech in the same way.”

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