Some patients benefit from medication, while others do not. This can be due to biological or behavioural reasons. We focus on the latter. Importantly, around 50% of people have difficulties in taking their medication appropriately resulting in avoidable mortality, hospital admissions and medication waste. We aim to develop novel strategies to better support patients in adhering to their medication and thereby maximizing clinical and economic benefits for both patients and society.

Our research is multidisciplinary, often combining medical, pharmaceutical and behavioural research and with a strong focus on practical tools and outcomes that could be directly used in daily clinical practice.

Through multidisciplinary research, education and care support, MAECON aims to optimise adherence monitoring & management in daily clinical practice, to ultimately optimise patient, economic and societal outcomes.

Our main fields of interest and expertise are the following:

  • Epidemiological population patterns of chronic drug intake using big databases
  • Predictors for, and clinical and economic consequences of, non-adherence to medication
  • Development of non-invasive biochemical methods to verify drug exposure in the body (e.g. in scalp hair, saliva, urine or dried blood spots)
  • Clinical trials of innovative eHealth solutions that support drug intake such as smart pill bottles, digital blisters and electronic inhalers and spacers
  • Development, testing and implementation of novel educational patient support programs that focus on optimising chronic drug use in daily clinical practice
Relevance

How our research benefits to society

Mainly due to an ageing society, there is a steady increase in the number of patients with a chronic disease and multi-morbidity. This requires a multifaceted response, which often involves lifetime medication use. Most medications have proven their efficacy in large randomised clinical trials. Yet, in real-life practice, the effectiveness of medications is often much lower. A main reason is poor medication adherence. Medication non-adherence affects, depending on disease and definitions applied, up to 50% of patients that use chronic medication. Of note, it has been estimated that medication non-adherence is associated with almost 200,000 deaths and €125 billion of potentially preventable direct (e.g. hospitalisations, waste of medication) and indirect (e.g. work productivity losses) costs in the European Union alone.

In the last decades, there has been little improvement in adherence across the spectrum of multiple chronic diseases. The fragmentation of adherence research, poor awareness among stakeholders, lack of effective and personalised strategies, and poor implementation and incentives in daily clinical practice are some of the key factors that little progress and change have been realised. To truly advance the adherence field, to make better use of our existing medications, and ultimately improve healthy ageing of societies, the time has come to unite all forces within one adherence expertise center that serves as a knowledge hub as well as implementation platform.

Contact

Job van Boven Assistant Professor

UMCG
Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacology
Hanzeplein 1
9700 RB Groningen