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Original research article
Medication reminder applications to improve adherence in coronary heart disease: a randomised clinical trial

Abstract

Objective The aim of the MEDication reminder APPs to improve medication adherence in Coronary Heart Disease Study was to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of using publicly available high-quality medication reminder applications (apps) to improve medication adherence compared with usual care in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). An additional aim was to examine whether an app with additional features improved adherence further.

Methods Patients with CHD (n=163) were randomised to one of three groups: (1) usual care, (2) a basic app or (3) an advanced app with interactive/customisable features. The primary analysis compared usual care versus app use on the primary outcome of the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8) at 3 months. Secondary outcomes included blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Results The mean age was 57.9 years and 87.7% were male. At 3 months, patients using an app had higher adherence (mean MMAS-8 score 7.11) compared with the usual care group (mean MMAS-8 score 6.63) with a mean difference between groups of 0.47 (95% CI 0.12 to 0.82, p=0.008). There was no significant difference in patients using the basic app versus the advanced app (mean difference −0.16, 95% CI −0.56 to 0.24, p=0.428). There were no significant differences in secondary clinical outcome measures.

Conclusion Patients with CHD who used medication reminder apps had better medication adherence compared with usual care, and using apps with additional features did not improve this outcome further. These data suggest medication apps are likely to help patients with chronic health conditions adhere to medicines, but further examination of whether such benefits are sustained is warranted.

Clinical trial registration number ACTRN12616000661471; Results.

  • medication adherence
  • coronary heart disease
  • mhealth
  • smartphone
  • apps

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