Engaging Patients and Lowering Costs: Technology to the Rescue

Engaging Patients and Lowering Costs: Technology to the Rescue

Tony Zordich, Julia Menichetti
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0978-3.ch042
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Societies need solutions to achieve the “triple aim” of improved health outcomes, better patient care, and lower costs; and engaging patients in their care by using technological solutions is claimed as a possible strategy to achieve this vital goal. On this basis, the chapter focuses on reviewing, categorizing and synthesizing technological tools currently available in the market today designed to engage patients in their own care process. In particular, the goals of medication adherence, reduced hospital readmission, behavior modification, and health literacy - with related technologies - are assessed, since they are considered todays most expensive health care burdens. The advantages, shortcomings, and potential economic impact of such tools are finally discussed.
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Stating that health care costs, especially in the united states, continue to capture an extraordinary amount of the gross domestic product is nothing of news (Levit et al., 2003). A quick assessment of published data in just a few related healthcare categories reveals staggering costs.

The cost of medication non-adherence in the U.S. has been estimated at $100 billion to $300 billion annually (Hagland 2013; pharmaceutical research and manufacturers of america [pharma], 2011) and is directly related to poor clinical outcomes, high health care costs, and lost productivity (Sokol, Mcguigan, Verbrugge, & Epstein, 2005). Approximately 3.3 million adult 30-day hospital readmissions occurred during 2011 in the united states, associated with about $41.3 billion in hospital costs (Hines, Barrett, Jiang, & Steiner, 2011). Estimates from the Institute of Medicine (2012) indicate that a health-literate society could save excess health care costs estimated at $73 billion.

Needless to say, those are too many billions to ignore.

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