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Technology helps address medicine non-adherence: Interview Special

By Tim Sandle     Jun 6, 2018 in Health
Non-adherence to medicine regimes is a health concern. When patients fail to complete course this can lead to a recurrence of a health condition. A new digital health blockchain solution is at hand, called CuraServe.
CuraServe is designed as a complete healthcare ecosystem to improve drug adherence and bring benefits to patients and healthcare providers. The CuraServe solution generates a vast amount of patient data. That data is then anonymized and made available through CuraData. Pharmaceutical companies, academics and researchers can access this data by purchasing CuraTokens.
To discover more, Digital Journal spoke with the company’s CEO Nicholas Rumble.
Digital Journal: What is the state of medical non-adherence?
Nicholas Rumble: Non-adherence to appropriately prescribed medications for patients suffering long-term and/or chronic disease is currently less than 50percent. This accounts for 50-60 percent of visits to a doctor, half of all hospital readmissions and up to 40% of care home admissions. It also kills (unnecessarily) almost 250,000 people per year in Europe alone.
DJ: What are the main reason why people miss taking their medications?
Rumble: Forgetfulness is by far and away the leading cause of non-adherence. In some countries, such as the USA, there is data to suggest that costs play a role, although, across countries with socialised healthcare, this is not a factor – for example, in Scotland and the Netherlands, medicines are free at the point of use, however, these countries have some of the lowest adherence levels in Europe.
DJ: How about those who don’t finish their course of medications?
Rumble: Non-adherence takes more than one form - Fulfilment, over and under medicating as well as failure to complete courses; although this latter part is less of an issue in the context of long-term and chronic illness as the medications are typically taken for the remainder of the patient’s life. For example, in the UK, as many as 25% of prescriptions are never even filled/collected. This, combined with under and over medication (non-adherence) are areas that CuraServe addresses.
DJ: What measures can be put in place to improve the taking of medicine?
Rumble: CuraServe is one solution. We are the only fully integrated adherence technology that has escalation protocols that act as a safety net for patients and their families and allow for early intervention. Our technologies allow doctors and other healthcare professionals to intervene before a problem becomes serious as a result of our behavioural, predictive analytics, allowing doctors to be proactive rather than just reactive for the first time. The data we collect is an incredibly valuable and will drive the Smart Health revolution.
DJ: Can technology help to incentivize patients to take medication?
Rumble: Besides the reminders and notifications, we also donate 10 percent of our profits to charities allied to research and treatment for the diseases that affect patients. This is a very effective way of engaging patients with our technology and encouraging its continued use. We also see a large amount of pressure from family members who wish to have a real-time view of their loved one’s wellbeing in driving the ongoing use of our technologies.
DJ: How can blockchain help?
Rumble: Patient health records now come under the new GDPR laws of Europe, which means that patients need to be informed about who is storing, using and redistributing their data and for what purposes. Using the blockchain to manage these permissions means that we can not only give patients complete control over their data, but we can guarantee security, immutability and transparency of use, which means we are also able to attribute the charitable donations based upon whose data was used for research purposes.
DJ: How did you develop Curaizon?
Rumble: I had previously developed some technology for the banking sector and discovered that this might have an application within healthcare. I have personal experience of the non-adherence problem and decided that there had to be a better way. I have spent years developing the concepts, technologies and relationships with healthcare providers.
DJ: What types of metrics can Curaizon generate?
Rumble: Near infinite. We gather on average about 4 data points per patient per day. This allows us to feedback real-time adherence data to a doctor, so that he/she can see their most at risk patients. We can then disseminate the data and identify improvements in prescribing guidelines across demographics as well as overlay our AI to create predictive, behavioural analysis that allows for early intervention.
DJ: What has been the response from the medical profession?
Rumble: Very positive. There’s been a step-change in attitudes towards technology. The health services have, historically, been slow to adopt new technologies, however, they have paid the ultimate price for this. There is significant will from the political level as well as healthcare commissioners to address the issue.
With an ever-increasing financial burden upon the national health services, they are now, more than ever, focused on the reduction of waste. Non-adherence is the main cause of waste within healthcare today, so by addressing this, they stand to improve quality of care, improve patient outcomes all the while saving lives and billions of dollars.
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