Drug delivery systems can help patients manage various diseases more effectively by assisting them in self-administering accurate doses of their required medications. However, the research, development and marketing for medical devices designed for such a task needs to take into account the fact that patients' experiences may differ depending on how long they have lived with their particular condition, according to PharmExecBlog.
Medication nonadherence is very costly to the medical system. PhRMA, an industry group, estimates that nonadherence to prescription instructions costs healthcare between $100 and $300 billion every year due to avoidable hospitalizations, nursing home admissions and premature deaths. In general, almost 75 percent of adults are nonadherent with their regimens in at least one way, such as taking a dose lower than prescribed.
Drug delivery systems may help patients comply with their medication instructions. However, people need to feel that these devices are usable, accurate and reliable. Their perceptions of these characteristics may change over time and influence adherence rates, Chris Evans of West Pharmaceutical Services and Ed Geiselhart of Insight Product Development wrote in the blog.
For example, patients who have been newly diagnosed with a condition may feel that their life has been disrupted by disease. They may be depressed, angry or scared at a time when they need to learn proper disease management.
Keeping this in mind, pharmaceutical companies need to make sure that use of their drug delivery systems require as few steps as possible in order to facilitate patients' learning. They also need to confirm proper dosage in order to ease consumers' fears and prevent overdosing.
On the other hand, pharmaceutical companies need to make sure that individuals who have lived with their disease for a long time stay adherent to their drug regimen. In this case, simplicity is not for the sake of training, but convenience.
"Realizing that patients are on an ongoing journey is an important step in understanding the complexities behind how user-centered design can support adherence. Armed with this awareness, pharmaceutical companies are better enabled to select and develop safe, reliable and desirable drug delivery solutions," Evans and Geiselhart wrote.