Access to Health

Health Literacy

Health Resources
for Patients

Health Resources
for Patients
Health Literacy

According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, an estimated one-third to one-half of all patients in the U.S. reportedly do not take their medications as prescribed.

In 2012, after reviewing recent research, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that a one percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries would cause Medicare’s spending on medical services to fall by roughly one-fifth of one percent.

“We remain committed to identifying the reasons why patients do not always correctly take prescribed medicine, and we support the development of improved evidence-based interventions that can lead to improved adherence.”

The following resources are designed to help patients stay on course with their treatments and to have better conversations with their health care providers about the medicines they have been prescribed.

Our company’s consumer-engagement program, a free health-support program available only in the United States, offers resources that help U.S. consumers achieve their health goals by reinforcing healthy lifestyle choices, providing disease-specific education, supporting adherence to therapy and facilitating more productive interactions with health care professionals. The site also provides support and encouragement for caregivers, who are often engaged in the day-to-day care and treatment decisions of family members and friends.

The program also provides health care professionals with health-support materials and tools for their patients. It is designed to support the relationship between health care professionals and health care consumers by providing tools and tips—online and through mobile devices—for healthier living between office visits.

  • My Diary (a weight, medicine and blood sugar tracker)
  • My Activity Tracker (tracks sleep and activity by syncing with certain activity-wearable devices)
  • Caregiver Workbook
  • Disease-specific articles and support information
  • BMI Calculator and “Getting Started” fitness ideas
  • Over 500 recipes and healthy eating tips
  • Social Media Community: Connecting with consumers and caregivers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest

The Adherence Estimator®

Patients often fail to reach clinical goals because they do not take medications as directed. We remain committed to identifying the reasons why patients do not always correctly take prescribed medicine, and we support the development of improved evidence-based interventions that can lead to improved adherence. We have a rich pipeline of adherence outcomes research projects, and we intend to broadly share our project findings with the health care marketplace, so that we can collectively address the issue of medication nonadherence.

The Adherence Estimator® is a validated, patient-based resource that gauges the likelihood of a patient adhering to a newly prescribed oral medication for certain chronic conditions. The Adherence Estimator asks questions about three key areas that affect adherence: patients’ perceived concerns about prescription medication; their perception of the need for or their commitment to a prescription medication; and their perceived financial burden from the cost of a prescription medication.

After respondents answer the questions, the resource provides information to enable the patient and health care provider to discuss any concerns that the patient may have. We also developed ConversationStarters, an interactive video experience based on the Adherence Estimator that helps patients share their beliefs about their medication with their health care providers.


SPARTA is a proven adherence platform that supports patients on any of our company’s therapies, to improve adherence to these medications while also providing access to various tools and resources to assist in the management of conditions.

SPARTA was created in Australia in 2009, in partnership with physicians and pharmacists who voiced the need for more robust patient support. In addressing this unmet need, modules were created to support enrolled patients with managing their chronic conditions. The modules consisted of various patient touch points (e.g., telephone support, disease education and text/email reminders) to help patients understand their condition better, realize the importance of diet and exercise in managing their condition and ultimately improve medication adherence. SPARTA grew from 60,000 patients in Asia-Pacific in 2013 to more than 160,000 patients across the globe in 2016.

Based on a recent analysis of 40,000 patients across 7 countries, 85 percent of patients taking part in the SPARTA program took their medications for more than 10 months and took it correctly 95 percent of the time.

In a subset of 2,000 patients, 70 percent of participants increased or started an exercise routine and 80 percent made positive changes to their diets.

SPARTA has been launched in Australia, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Oman, Hong Kong, Mexico and Chile. Additional 2016 launches are planned in Colombia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Ireland and Sweden, with several other regions, including Europe and Canada, planning launches in 2017.


MSD SPARSH Healthline is a telephone based, diabetes management support program for patients treated for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (“T2DM”) with JANUVIA® (sitagliptin)/JANUMET® (sitagliptin and metformin HCl)/Janumet XR CP® (sitagliptin and metformin HCI extended-release).

SPARSH aims to improve therapy adherence among T2DM patients and improve their diabetes control by helping them imbibe therapeutic life style changes. The key elements of SPARSH support include customized counseling on disease and lifestyle management along with text and adherence support.

In 2015, SPARSH enrolled approximately 17,500 patients and the average duration of patient stay improved by 36 days to about 11 months. Though the support provided to patients and physicians to help manage diabetes better has evolved significantly over the last seven years, a challenge we are working toward overcoming is the ability to understand and identify different patient profiles and expectations on how these patients wish to receive disease management support. These insights should help take us closer to providing patients with a much more customized experience, thus further improving therapy adherence and disease outcomes.