eHealth helps to improve medication adherence in patients with chronic disease

E-health helps to improve medication adherence in patients with chronic disease

Medication adherence is an important topic in healthcare, since not taking medication the right way leads to suboptimal treatment outcomes. Healthcare providers have limited time available for medication adherence interventions. eHealth provides a possible solution since it can be implemented with minimal effort from caregivers and at the same time support large numbers of patients. A review study from Nivel and Sint Maartenskliniek shows that e-health improves medication adherence for patients using long-term medication.

We found the strongest evidence for e-health interventions using text messages, mobile applications and phone calls. Some strategies for using eHealth interventions to improve medication adherence worked better than others. The following strategies were found to be most effective:

  • Educate patients. For example by means of an application that monitors antihypertensive drug intake as well as patients’ blood pressure, so patients learn what effect a drug has.
  • Support patients in making choices about medication. For example by discussing the barriers regarding medication use and how they can be resolved through a phone call with the pharmacist.
  • Improve quality of care. For example by using a ‘smart’ drug package that alerts a healthcare provider when medication is not taken for a period of time.

About the research
For this review study we examined 21 scientific articles. We analysed the effects of 29 different e-health interventions compared to usual care.

This research project relates to Nivel's research program Pharmaceutical Care (lead by prof. Liset van Dijk, PhD).