Smartphone apps better remind patients to take their pills: Study - Times of India
WASHINGTON: A study has found that smartphone app reminders are more beneficial when it comes to taking the medication in comparison to those who keep written instructions.
"We hypothesised that the app would increase adherence by 30%, but the impact was even greater," said study author Dr Cristian M. Garmendia, of the Cardiovascular Institute of Buenos Aires in the study presented at the 45th Argentine Congress of Cardiology.
"Patients using the app were alerted to take their pills. They also had better knowledge about why they had been prescribed each medication and could check compliance with their doctor," said Dr Cristian M. Garmendia.
Following a heart attack, patients are prescribed medications to prevent another event. However, one in four patients discontinues at least one drug in the first 30 days after discharge from the hospital.
This leads to poor symptom control and an increased likelihood of rehospitalisation and premature death. There is currently no simple and cost-effective strategy to improve adherence.
This study tested the impact of a smartphone application on medication compliance.
For those assigned to the smartphone group, the prescribed medication schedule was uploaded to the digital application, and an alarm would ring each time a pill should be taken.
After taking the pills, patients confirmed it in the application. Doctors could check daily adherence using a professional digital platform linked to the patient's smartphone.
The average age of patients in the study was 63 years and 75% were men. At 90 days, significantly more patients in the digital application group were correctly taking their pills (65%) compared to those who received standard care.
A secondary objective of the study was to examine how many patients in each group were hospitalised for another heart attack or had an unplanned visit to the doctor or emergency department.
No differences between groups were found. Dr Juan Pablo Costabel, the senior author of the study, said: "This may be due to the relatively small number of patients or the low rate of events. This was an exploratory endpoint, but our next study will be designed with these outcomes as the primary endpoint."
"Adherence to treatment after a heart attack increased with the use of a smartphone application. This is a low cost and easy way to improve medication compliance in this setting," Dr Juan Pablo Costabel concluded.