A review of the literature on the economics of noncompliance. Room for methodological improvement.
ABSTRACT Therapeutic noncompliance is a major issue in health care, having important negative consequences for clinical outcome as well as for health-care costs. This paper reviews the literature on the economics of therapeutic noncompliance, identifies methodological shortcomings and formulates recommendations for future economic research in this area. Medication noncompliance was explored more extensively, as the majority of articles dealt exclusively with this aspect of therapy. Eighteen studies were assessed according to their definition and measurement of medication noncompliance, study design, and identification and valuation of costs and outcomes. Very diverse designs and often invalid methods for calculating costs were found. Medication noncompliance is often ill-defined and measured in an inaccurate way. The economic consequences of therapeutic noncompliance have rarely been investigated according to the standard principles of good economic evaluation. Six studies examined both costs and consequences of noncompliance in a cost-outcome description or a cost-benefits, cost-effectiveness or cost-utility analysis. Eight studies dealt with the economic value of compliance-enhancing interventions. In general, studies on the economic consequences of noncompliance lack methodological rigour and fail to meet qualitative standards. There is a clear need for more and better research on the impact of noncompliance, on the cost-effectiveness of interventions and the potential of compliance-enhancing interventions to improve patient outcomes and/or reduce health-care costs.
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ABSTRACT: Medical nonpersistence is a worldwide problem of striking magnitude. Although many fields of studies including epidemiology, sociology, and psychology try to identify determinants for medical nonpersistence, comprehensive research to explain medical nonpersistence from an economics perspective is rather scarce. The aim of the study was to develop a conceptual framework that augments standard economic choice theory with psychological concepts of behavioral economics to understand how patients' preferences for discontinuing with therapy arise over the course of the medical treatment. The availability of such a framework allows the targeted design of mechanisms for intervention strategies. Our conceptual framework models the patient as an active economic agent who evaluates the benefits and costs for continuing with therapy. We argue that a combination of loss aversion and mental accounting operations explains why patients discontinue with therapy at a specific point in time. We designed a randomized laboratory economic experiment with a student subject pool to investigate the behavioral predictions. Subjects continue with therapy as long as experienced utility losses have to be compensated. As soon as previous losses are evened out, subjects perceive the marginal benefit of persistence lower than in the beginning of the treatment. Consequently, subjects start to discontinue with therapy. Our results highlight that concepts of behavioral economics capture the dynamic structure of medical nonpersistence better than does standard economic choice theory. We recommend that behavioral economics should be a mandatory part of the development of possible intervention strategies aimed at improving patients' compliance and persistence behavior. Copyright © 2014 International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Value in Health 12/2014; 17(8):814-22. DOI:10.1016/j.jval.2014.08.2669 · 2.89 Impact Factor