FICO, the credit scoring giant, says it is going to start using its mathematical technology to inform the health insurance industry about which people will be most at risk of not adhering to their medication.

“We started thinking about how consumers behave as patients,” said Mark Greene, the chief executive of FICO, based in Minneapolis, to New York Times blogger Tara Parker-Pope. “The problem, from a math standpoint, is not all that different from banking and other industries.”

Nearly three quarters of all people fail to take their medication exactly as prescribed by their doctors. Though studies have shown that medication adherence is generally higher among people living with HIV, the consequences of missed doses are significant, and between one quarter and one half of HIV-positive people struggle with adherence. People who miss too many doses of their antiretroviral (ARV) medication often develop HIV drug resistance and end up in treatment failure.

Fico said that by end of the 2011, an estimated 2 to 3 million people will have been given a FICO medication adherence score and that a total of 10 million people are expected to be scored by the summer of 2012.

Because the company will use publicly available data, such as home ownership and job status, rather than medical records, the score can be compiled without requiring sensitive and private health information. Right now, the company will be offering its adherence rating services to health insurance companies so that they can offer additional assistance to those who FICO predicts will have the most trouble.

FICO built its adherence score, which will range from 0 and 500, from data provided on 600,000 patients by a large pharmacy benefits management company. People who scored 400 or higher on FICO's system were judged to be highly likely to adhere to their medication, while those with a score below 200 were expected to have adherence problems.

FICO hasn't specified whether it will be offering its score to HIV health care providers, though it is likely that HIV-positive people will be included if they are covered by insurance plans that use FICO's adherence scoring service.

“We view this as a public health problem,” said Rebecca Burkholder, vice president of health policy for the National Consumers League. “We really believe that encouraging that conversation between patient and professional can help them better understand their condition and the consequences of not taking their medicine.”