COPD, Asthma Medication Adherence Increases Through Digital Rewards Program

April 24, 2018

A new program shows promise for improving patient medication adherence. Find out how it works.

Rising smartphones use, changing lifestyle, increasing digitalization, and a growing focus on wellness at the workplace, is fueling the global healthcare gamification market. According to P&S Market Research, the global gamification market size was $960.5 million in 2014 and it is expected to reach $22,913.0 million by 2022, at a CAGR of 41.8%.

“There’s an increasingly popular trend of gamification emerging in the healthcare space and it’s important to reach patients in a way they can relate,” says Jason Marshall, senior associate director, marketing, Boehringer Ingelheim. “More and more people are relying on their computers and mobile devices to get their information and when it comes to health, there should be no exceptions.”

Enter RespiPoints, a web- and mobile-based program that engages and rewards select respiratory patients through education about their condition and support to take their medicines daily as prescribed by their healthcare provider. 

Patients enrolled in RespiPoints can participate in a variety of activities to earn points, which can then be redeemed for e-gift cards. Activities might include reporting daily medicine taking, verifying monthly refills, reading educational information and insightful tips, and completing weekly quizzes and surveys.

The hope is that this will system will increase patients’ adherence to daily treatment plans and their understanding of the disease, according to Marshall. “Additionally, the program offers patients the chance to learn more about their conditions, allowing for more comprehensive management,” he says.

Results

Launched through an initial nine-month pilot in 2016, the RespiPoints program showed participants increased their knowledge of COPD and began following healthy habits. Participants showed an improved adherence in their medicines, resulting in an 85% decrease in gap days between refilling their next prescription.

As with other chronic conditions, poor adherence to medicines is common among patients with respiratory conditions, and can result in increased rates of symptoms, healthcare costs, and hospitalizations.

“The results from the RespiPoints program showcase an effective way to engage people who may need additional support to better understand and manage their health,” Marshall says. “Understanding the multiple challenges of nonadherence, which is a concern among many chronic diseases, an engagement program that gets patients to take specific actions, such as refilling their medication after a long gap, can help people increase their adherence, follow their healthcare provider’s treatment plan, and improve their health. This is relevant for all healthcare executives.”

Other findings from the pilot:

  • Monthly engagement with the RespiPoints website averaged 4.6 visits and an average of 50 minutes per month.
  • Seventy-one percent of RespiPoints participants said they would be “very likely” to recommend RespiPoints to a friend or family member on the same COPD medicine.
  • Fifty-six percent of participants remained active in RespiPoints over the entire nine-month pilot period. Health apps in general average only 9% engagement rates at nine months.

“Heading into the future, we expect to see more programs such as RespiPoints that add to the care of chronic diseases,” Marshall says.