HealthPrize Technologies announced the results of an internal study which revealed that patients taking a branded cholesterol-lowering medication who were enrolled in the company’s digital engagement and adherence platform were more likely to refill their scripts on time. The study examined adherence using “gap days,” which are the amount of days between script refills or the number of days patients are without medication. The mean pre-enrollment gap days for these patients were 8.81 and mean post-enrollment gap days were 0.06, representing a 99% reduction.
The HealthPrize platform combines education, gamification, concepts from behavioral economics, and other incentives to inspire behavior change. This particular program included weekly quizzes, weekly surveys, the “daily fortune cookie” (which contained a piece of medical education), leaderboards, sweepstakes, and further access to various medical education materials. Enrollees could also accumulate points which were redeemable for charitable donations.
“Everyone is looking for a silver bullet to motivate people to adopt whatever positive health behavior they want, but there isn’t one,” Tom Kottler, HealthPrize CEO and Co-Founder, told PM360. “We have taken a very different approach, which is almost the polar opposite of that, by admitting we have no idea what is going to motivate any one individual regardless of their age, gender, socioeconomic status, or education. But we do know from the work that people have done for years outside of healthcare—particularly when examining people as consumers: The one thing that motivates people is choice.”
Kottler offers an example in the world outside of healthcare. When you walk into a Best Buy, you have nearly 100 different televisions to choose from. It is far different in healthcare—a physician basically tells the patient, “Here’s this script, take this drug.”
“Part of our belief,” Kottler adds, “is that one of the reasons people have such a hard time with healthcare and dislike it so much is because it is one of the only places in their lives as consumers that they don’t have any choice.”
With HealthPrize, Kottler makes sure patients have choice. Each program in their platform offers a high level of personal customization, so even if the program offers 10 or 12 different items, most patients only choose to engage with three to five of them. Patients can also set up notifications via email or text, including when it’s time to take their medications or when it is time to get a refill.
In the study of 1,085 patients taking the cholesterol medication, the average patient engaged with the platform five times a day. Kottler says that provides them with plenty of chances to communicate positive messages to patients about staying on therapy or prompting patients to refill their medication. But then, they also engage with patients on multiple issues. Kottler believes that you cannot narrow medication nonadherence down to just a single cause, such as the cost of medication. In order to break bad habits, you have to engage patients on multiple levels.
“We’ve built a platform that uses all kinds of different psychological levers, elements of gamification, different ways to motivate, and ultimately educate patients,” Kottler says, “because the better educated patients are about their medication, the more likely they are to take it.”
The company plans to continue to examine the effectiveness of their platform and offer results using medication possession ratio (MPR) and percentage of days covered (PDC), which are the gold standards in the industry. Both essentially measure how many pills a patient actually has in their possession to take over a 12-month period. To get those figures, Kottler says they would like to examine close to 2,500 patients for a full year. He hopes that will also allow them to do subgroup analysis and dig a little deeper into the numbers, for instance, to break down how effective the platform is for people who filled less than six scripts prior to enrolling, or less than four scripts, or patients who are brand new to therapy.
“Our platform gathers incredible amounts of data on patients, both quantitative—relative to their medication behavior—as well as qualitative, due to the huge numbers of people who answer quizzes and surveys every week with us,” Kottler says. “We have north of 300,000 patients on our different programs on our platform and we expect that to be closer to half a million at the end of the year. We are gathering incredible amounts of data and insights on patients and their use of medication.”