Effective Patient Engagement: Why Adherence is Important

As a pharma company or medical provider, you know first hand that product development is a complicated and costly process.


It can seem almost impossible to successfully break into the market. After spending years of time and millions to billions of dollars, you then have to face human clinical trial challenges.


When your research participant group fails to adhere to study recommendations, it can lead to disastrous data outcomes, ultimately putting your product at risk.


Here are effective strategies to keep your trials users engaged and loyal for the long haul.

Medication Adherence: Why is it Important?

When patients don’t stick to their treatment plans and medications, there are many dangerous consequences that could occur. This includes therapies that don’t work, misdiagnosis, and unnecessary stronger dose recommendations for drugs or surgical procedures.


Lack of adherence not only impacts the patients but can also lead to higher cost of medical resources. In one estimate, about 8% of the total health expenditures could be eliminated if medication use was better managed.


As a result, misuse can threaten data and overall product integrity. This leads to an expensive and long process as well as the potential to trigger public health and regulatory problems.


According to Westrock’s, review: Improve the Efficiency and Accuracy of Your Clinical Trials:Monitor Subject Adherence with Smart Packaging, these are the top risks of associated with lack of patient adherence:


Failure to Confirm Drug Efficacy

Poor adherence can lead to lack of efficacy. This can contribute to about fifty percent of failed clinical trials, resulting in an inability to or a delay in validating a drug.


Underestimated Potency

When there is low adherence in a clinical trial, it can make it seem like a higher dose of a drug is needed to produce a beneficial effect. This can be extremely dangerous because it presents the risk of recommending more of the drug than is truly needed by the human body. This could result in increased negative symptoms as well as dangerous reactions.


Increased Risk of Harm

When participants don’t take the drug as recommended, detrimental consequences can occur. These harmful reactions may go unnoticed until the drug is on the market. Also, starting or stopping the drug or not taking it as recommended can cause dangerous reactions.


Slow or Poor Development of Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug approvals depend on credible data which requires appropriate usage. Meaning that if there is poor faithfulness, the approval will most likely be delayed, both impacting your company and increasing the wait times for the doctors and patients who need it most.


Treatment Failure

If usage of the drug is poor, the effect of both the drug and the treatment protocol have the potential to fail. In addition, studies suggest that medication non-compliance can lead to patient health status deterioration, additional hospitalizations, or even deaths.


Prevalence of Poor Adherence

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in developed countries, only half of patients who are being treated for chronic illness adhere to their prescribed therapy.


In a study of almost 17,000 patients who were enrolled in 95 clinical trials:

-4% never started treatment.

-By day 100 about 20% had stopped taking medication. Another 12% were not taking their full prescribed dose of medication.

-At month 3, less than 70% of the enrolled patients were following the trial correctly.

-At the end of the year, 40% had stopped taking medication and 15% were omitting some prescribed doses.


Medial Provider: Patient Engagement

You know the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”? This is used to emphasize the fact that you can make something easily accessible to someone, but you can’t force them do it.


When it comes to patient engagement, it’s important to lead your patients to your product, then keep them engaged in their care by helping them understand how you can benefit their life. This starts by understanding what their top priorities are.


Research suggests that very few health apps are actually effective. In order to be useful, they should:


-Provide education
-Set up reminders or notifications
-Record and track health information
-Display health information
-Provide guidance based on user activity
-Enable communication with providers and family
-Provide support through social networks
-Support positive behavior change


Remote is the Way of the Future

One of the main benefits of tele-health, web programs and apps, is that they allow patients to reach services they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have in between doctor visits.


It also allows patients to access care even when they’re not able to physically go to an appointment. For reasons such as transportation issues or staying safe in dangerous situations such as pandemics.


When a patient is remote, this offers the chance for them to be involved in their care. This is an aspect of identifying a barrier and removing it, so the patient can have easy access to care and reach a provider or coach when they need them the most.


Remote services also allow for patients to be engaged at any time of the day. This increases convenience for them and allows flexibility in adapting to their work, family priorities, and even appointments.

Nori for IBD Patient Engagement

NoriHealth offers remote chatbot coaching that’s personal, authentic, and easy to use. Nori works alongside your medical protocol and drug recommendations.


Nori’s goal is to provide patient support in between hospital or doctor visits while encouraging your medication adherence.


With de-identified patient data, you can save on office visit time, improve condition care, and allow for better engagement in your patient health journey.



This article has been written by Lisa Booth, registered dietitian and nutritionist, and co-founder of Nori Health. Content is based on her professional knowledge, and our collection of 100+ scientific research study papers.