Most in the healthcare industry have their sights currently fixed on
Last Friday, Jason Rodriguez allegedly walked into the
So, why should healthcare leaders take note?
According to an interview in The New York Times, Rodriguez’s former mother-in-law, America Holloway, told the newspaper that Rodriguez had been taking medication for schizophrenia. When he was off his treatment, Holloway said, the alleged shooter became “angry, jealous, paranoid, and controlling.”
From the article:
“I’d be standing in the kitchen, he would come from the back room and say, ‘I
know you’re talking about me.’ I would say, ‘There’s nobody here,’” Ms. Holloway said. “When he had his medicine, he was the most wonderful person.”
Schizophrenia is a biological disease of the brain. Its absolute cause is unknown, and there is no cure. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1 percent of Americans have the condition, whose symptoms can include having delusions, having confused thoughts, and hearing voices. Note that the proportion of violent crimes attributed to schizophrenia patients is small—in many cases, patients are challenged simply to hold a job or live on their own.
I hope that if Rodriguez’s actions are found to have been influenced by his inability to stay on medication, it will heighten the call for healthcare organizations—including pharma companies—to provide more adherence tools and education for care partners and those with mental disorders. Schizophrenia drugs have been proven to help patients manage their symptoms, but adherence for these drugs ranks among the lowest of all categories. Yet research shows that problem-solving strategies and self-monitoring tools can help sufferers stay on their medications longer.
At this week’s FDA hearings on social media, I'll be listening for the industry's take on the adherence potential of social networks, mobile reminder services, and unbranded communities. These tools can empower care partners and patients, helping those with neurological disorders stay on their treatments. If the pharma industry, for one, can’t fully put its resources to work on behalf of adherence, it loses the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients…and isn't that what real health reform should be about?
Director of Strategic Services