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McKinsey: U.S. health care industry must take new approach to ensure patient adherence

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Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in August 2017 published an article, A 360-degree approach to patient adherence that discusses how an insight-driven approach can help when patients drive up healthcare costs by neglecting their treatment regimens.

The article points out that 50 to 60 percent of patients are likely to skip medications, follow-up appointments and other treatment protocols, which places them at risk for complications and overall worsening outcomes. The personal and economic costs, according to the article, are an estimated 125,000 deaths each year as well as an added $290 billion to U.S. health expenditures annually.

Traditional approaches to adherence, such as warning patients of consequences and scheduling multiple follow-ups across the patient population “may be costing billions of dollars” in the U.S. alone because these interventions are potentially ineffective.

The answer, according to the authors, is to create a “360-degree perspective” of patients’ lives that allows a provider to look at whether a patient’s behavioral patterns, demographics, and lifestyle choices indicate whether they are likely to adhere to a regimen. “Such a rich analysis” the authors say “can help uncover opportunities to reshape behavior and craft specific interventions tailored to individual profiles.”

The article further suggests that the healthcare industry, insurers, providers, pharmaceutical companies and data aggregators can use the large volume of data available to help predict behavior and allow tailored interventions if it is assembled and analyzed properly.

Issues such as data quality (the “garbage in, garbage out!” problem) and privacy regulations are not addressed in this short paper; nor do the authors discuss how their approach might apply in other countries or globally.

The full article can be accessed here.

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