Diabetes complications fuel rising costs

July 21, 2016

Medication nonadherence and complications from type 2 diabetes is resulting in signficant economic and societal burdens in the U.S. and other countries, according to a new report.

Medication nonadherence and complications from type 2 diabetes is resulting in signficant economic and societal burdens in the United States and other countries, according to a new report.

Disease complications account for an estimated 61% to 80% of type 2 diabetes-related costs in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Mexico, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report. In addition, between 4% and 15% of costs are linked to poor adherence.

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“The rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its associated complications is the root of considerable strain on society and an economic burden on healthcare systems,” said Murray Aitken, IMS Health senior vice president and executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. “Simple, customized interventions that put patients on the path to optimal adherence and persistence can yield tangible results, but require alignment between healthcare and government leaders, as well as the active involvement of voluntary associations and the private sector.”

On average, fewer than 40% of type 2 diabetes patients globally are achieving optimal levels of adherence (the extent to which a patient follows the prescribed interval and dose of a medicine regimen) and persistence (the time from initiation to discontinuation of a therapy), according to IMS Institute. In addition, current strategies to improve type 2 diabetes outcomes in the six countries were not directly focused on addressing suboptimal therapy adherence and persistence.   

When therapy adherence and persistence is addressed, the United States. Medicare population could save an estimated $4 billion annually in avoidable costs-4% of America’s total healthcare spending.

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Effective patient activation-how well people understand their role in the care process along with their ability and willingness to actively manage their own health and care-is key to deriving greater value from existing diabetes treatments. Other methods to improve adherence include identifying and profiling patients in need of help, improving access to customized education materials, maximizing engagement between healthcare providers and patients and using digital technology to maintain effective disease self management.

However, the path to optimal adherence and persistence involves policymakers, payers, healthcare providers, the private sector, caregivers, families and patients themselves, according to IMS Institute. “Policymakers can play a vital role in addressing barriers in the integration and provision of care by improving access, health literacy, health beliefs and attitudes. Multi-stakeholder involvement ultimately enables healthcare providers to address an individual’s specific support and information needs through a customized, patient-centric approach,” the organization said.