May 6, 2020

Overcoming Patient Noncompliance With In-Office Infusion Centers

When it comes to infusion treatments, the best way to improve patient compliance is in-office administration.

You’ve heard the old saying: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. According to the old adage, horses have a compliance problem.

Patients undergoing infusion treatments have a compliance problem too — only they might have a reasonable excuse: infusion treatments, especially of biologic drugs, can be time-consuming, inconvenient, and sometimes uncomfortable. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: In-office infusion centers. It’s a win-win for doctors and patients alike.

Why Compliance Matters

While biologic drug infusions are often crucial in delivering potentially life-saving medication, patients don’t always follow their plans of care. When we talk about improving patient compliance, we usually talk about reducing friction, and eliminating barriers to treatment.

With as much friction, and as many barriers standing in the way of infusion treatment via Outpatient Hospital and At-Home administration, it isn’t difficult to see why studies consistently find that roughly half of patients don’t adhere to their doctor’s plan of care. And when patients forgo infusion sessions, it can pose a number of threats to their health.

Compliance Challenges of At-Home Infusions

According to the American College of Rheumatology, “forcing patients to perform infusions at home...may lead to noncompliance and inadequate control of disease.” There are a few reasons for this.

  • Many patients don’t like the idea of allowing strangers into their homes — even if they’re registered infusion nurses.
  • A lack of supervision and oversight by primary care physicians and specialist providers during infusion treatments has a negative impact on patient compliance.
  • Requiring patients to play a crucial role in the orchestration of their treatment plan burdens them with a substantial administrative responsibility. In other words, Home Infusions increase treatment complexity. And treatment complexity adversely impacts patient compliance.
  • Patients are supposed to accurately report noncompliance to their medical team, but there is no guarantee that they’ll do so, leaving providers in the dark and therefore incapable of adjusting treatment plans for improved outcomes.

Compliance Challenges of Outpatient Hospital Infusions

Hospital Outpatient infusions bring their own raft of barriers to compliance.

  • Hospital Outpatient infusions are expensive. While this factor introduces accessibility challenges, it can also contribute to lower rates of compliance. Research by The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits revealed a correlation between the cost of biologic drug treatments and patient compliance: the higher the cost, the lower the compliance.
  • Patients like their doctors. They don’t want to receive treatment from just the next doctor available.
  • Hospital outpatient infusion centers can be inconvenient. Getting there is just the beginning — and often a long one. Making patients navigate the labyrinthine, bureaucratic architectures of hospitals for lifelong routine treatments is neither necessary nor beneficial.  
  • Hospital environments can be uncomfortable for patients with chronic (but stable) conditions. For patients with Autoimmune conditions like Lupus, infusion treatments are a fact of life — it doesn’t make sense to put them in a waiting room with terminal patients.
  • Hospital Outpatient infusion centers are supposed to communicate adverse reaction and noncompliance information to their patients’ doctors. That doesn’t always happen, leaving providers without critical information and unable to react appropriately.

Both hospital Outpatient and At-Home Infusions are necessarily problematic from the perspective of patient compliance, as they unavoidably raise substantial barriers between patients and the treatments they need.

In-Office Infusions: the Safer and Cost-Effective Road to Compliance

Rather than risk noncompliance and potential danger, an in-office infusion center can mitigate all of these issues and improve patient outcomes.

In-office infusions offer a far more comfortable setting for patients receiving infusion treatments for chronic conditions like MS, and studies have shown they increase patient satisfaction and compliance. Since administration occurs at a scheduled place and time by a dedicated MD, compliance and treatment program completion rates are much higher than those seen in at-home and hospital outpatient programs.

What’s more, in-office infusion abridges the chain of communication and provides doctors with increased confidence in compliance reports, since they interact with patients directly. There is a much lower risk of miscommunication or noncompliance reports getting lost in the pipeline somewhere. Further, in-office infusions ease the process of making any potential adjustments to a patient’s treatment plan.  

Finally, in-office treatments managed by OI Infusion are far more cost-effective than Hospital Outpatient programs, allowing patients to feel financially comfortable with their treatment and promoting increased rates of adherence.

Ensuring Compliance with In-Office Infusion Centers

OI Infusion’s in-office infusion centers are the most efficient and cost-effective way for Healthcare providers and practices to monitor and foster patient compliance — which means that they’re also the easiest way to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Doctors who write prescriptions for biologic drug infusions can benefit themselves, their practices, and their patients by taking the next step: Opening an in-office infusion center with the help of the infusion management experts at OI Infusion. With higher rates of patient compliance, better health outcomes, fewer administrative headaches, more control over legal liability, and a low-touch, high-margin revenue stream, OI’s turnkey in-office infusion center management platform is a win-win-win.

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