The US population is aging. The number of Americans who will be 65 or older is estimated to reach approximately 80 million in 2040. As this aging demographic is rapidly growing, so do the concerns over the complexity of managing their healthcare treatment, particularly medication management – which can be hard to manage, track, and pay for since they tend to take more medications than any other age group.
The simultaneous use of multiple medications to treat diseases and other health conditions—also known as polypharmacy—is common among elderly persons. According to a 2019 report from the CDC, about a third of Americans in their 60s and 70s use five or more prescription drugs, and about 83 percent used at least one prescription drug in the past month.
And while use of multiple medications may be recommended, it can also result in negative health and financial outcomes.
In particular, the senior population has the highest risk of medication-related issues, which are often linked to adverse drug effects, multi-drug interactions, cross-morbidity drug impacts and inappropriate active ingredient dosages for the specific patient. The associated risks of a negative or unintended outcome increase as more medications are prescribed. These risks may include harmful drug-drug and drug-disease combinations.
Elderly people in particular are more susceptible to the negative effects of various medications for several reasons. Multimorbidity increases as the population ages and there are limited disease-specific guidelines for the management of comorbidities.
Though the US has made great strides in the interoperability of health information, use of electronic health records, and electronic prescribing, many patients continue to use multiple pharmacies and may have prescriptions filled by pharmacists who are unaware of the patient’s entire medication regimen. It’s estimated that nonoptimized medication regimens result in 275,000 deaths and more than $528B in avoidable morbidity and mortality costs each year in the US alone.
As the US healthcare system shifts from fee-for-service to value-based care, there is rising importance to utilize solutions that improve clinical and financial outcomes, reduce costs of care, address quality metrics, and optimize clinical staff resources.
To address the problem of suboptimal medication management, the healthcare community needs a reliable and practical solution that analyzes not just the top clinical condition groups, but instead considers the entire clinical picture for all patients. It must handle the complexity of aging patients and deliver precision management of costs and risks in real time. FeelBetter’s goal is to enable proactive medication management and to empower providers with the knowledge that the medicines they prescribe are safe and effective. We’re working to help value-based care organizations identify those patients who have the highest risk of deterioration, hospitalization, and financial costs from gaps in care and provide them with the necessary tools for timely clinical intervention and meaningful risk reduction.
Most recently, we launched a retrospective study in collaboration with Boston-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The study will evaluate the ability of SaaS solution to predict which senior patients with multiple chronic conditions and complex medication regimens are at risk of deterioration and hospitalization. In addition, the pilot will assess the effectiveness of FeelBetter’s decision-support capabilities to provide actionable medication management recommendations for patients over the age of 65 in the community.
Results from the study will include estimates of the potential annual reduction in total medical expenditure driven by our technology, particularly those associated with avoidable emergency department visits and hospitalizations. We anticipate the analysis will be completed by the end of this year and published in 2023.
Results from a retrospective pilot with 153,000 managed care patients at Leumit Health Services, one of the largest healthcare services providers in Israel, showed that usage of our solution can help organizations synthesize and analyze healthcare data to accurately report which patients are affected most from suboptimal medication management and are likely to have an avoidable hospitalization within 30-90 days.
Our vision is to help health providers, payers, regulators, and pharmaceuticals come together by using a technology that provides insights to treat patients more effectively, thereby reducing the cost of healthcare and improving health outcomes. Ensuring that patients receive the right treatments, and are identified when they are not, will reduce the financial burden and negative health outcomes for all parties.
The author, Yoram Hordan, Co-Founder, FeelBetter