It's probably no surprise that biosimilars, accountable care organizations and outcomes-based contracting are all hot topics at the annual Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy meeting here in Minneapolis April 27-29. But here's one thing I didn't expect to learn apparently, doctors who sit down during their office visits have more satisfied patients than those who stand.

The standing-versus-sitting observation came up at a session on medication adherence and was being used by an employer to illustrate the important, but ignored, role physicians have in making sure their patients are compliant with their prescription drugs.

Bruce Sherman, consulting medical director of global services for Goodyear Tire & Rubber, says employers have poured a lot of money into value-based insurance designs and have lowered or waived copays and coinsurance on drugs to help make patients more compliant. But he cited a recent study published in Health Affairs that VBID intervention only increased medication adherence by four percentage points.

Sherman believes that physicians are an untapped resource in making sure patients are on task with their meds, yet they rarely even receive the drug data necessary to intervene. When he asked for a show of hands in the room from anyone who was aware of physicians getting this kind of data, he got no takers.

The Employer Health Purchasing Corporation of Ohio recently studied the link between patient-physician relationship and health outcomes. The study found that patients who are seen consistently by a single physician rather than a variety of clinicians in a practice achieve better scores in diabetes and cholesterol control, among other measures.

Obviously, the patient-doctor relationship goes deeper than sitting versus standing. But I saw many heads nod when Sherman highlighted this point. Mine was one of them. I'm thinking about dropping one of my own doctors who never seems to hear my concerns. Naturally, she's a stander.

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