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An article in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses why health care cost saving strategies will have to deal with the issue of nonadherence. When a patient does not follow their health care provider’s suggested course of treatment (lifestyle changes, proper use of prescribed medications, etc.) the patient’s nonadherence often results in their condition worsening and requiring more intensive treatment later. It is estimated that nonadherence is responsible for $100 billion to $290 billion in unnecessary medical spending a year.

One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the reduction of health care costs. The ACA aims to lower these costs by moving away from the fee-for-service model, using Accountable Care Organizations, and penalizing service providers when a patient they have treated relapses. The article explains some of the effects nonadherence could have on the ACA’s approaches to reducing health care costs.

 

The New England Journal of Medicine article can be found here