Given the complexity and costliness of managing patients’ medication, any insight into future patient behavior is helpful for prescribers and payors. In light of this, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in conjunction with CVS Health Research Institute, are using claims data to identify trends in initial medication filling as it relates to long-term behaviors.
The study, recently published in the American Journal of Managed Care and described in Drug Store News, found evidence that patients’ tendency to refill their medication during the first few months can accurately determine their future medication adherence.
Using data from 77,000 Medicare beneficiaries who began taking statin drugs over a three-year period, researchers made a precise prediction of medication adherence for the subsequent years. Based on patterns of prescription filling in the first year of statin intervention, researchers used group trajectories to categorize patients into six groups, ranging from non-adherent to near-perfect adherence.
According to this model, patients that followed strong patterns of filling medications in the first two to four months were more likely to maintain high levels of future adherence behavior, with the inverse also being true.
Not only is this research helping to predict patient behaviors, it’s making it easier than ever to cater interventions to specific patients who need it most. According to the study’s senior author, Niteesh Choudhry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “With the increasing availability of rich patient data, we can better anticipate how the patients we manage will take their medications,” allowing for more specialized and meaningful interventions from providers.