Medication adherence: emerging use of technology

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2011 Jul;26(4):279-87. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0b013e328347c150.


Purpose of review: Adherence to proven, effective medications remains low, resulting in high rates of clinical complications, hospital readmissions, and death. The use of technology to identify patients at risk and to target interventions for poor adherence has increased. This review focuses on research that tests these emerging technologies and evaluates the effect of technology-based adherence interventions on cardiovascular outcomes.

Recent findings: Recent studies have evaluated technology-based interventions to improve medication adherence by using pharmaceutical databases, tailoring educational information to individual patient needs, delivering technology-driven reminders to patients and providers, and integrating in-person interventions with electronic alerts. Cellular phone reminders and in-home electronic technology used to communicate reminder messages have shown mixed results. Only one study has shown improvement in both adherence and clinical outcome. Current trials suggest that increasing automated reminders will complement but not replace the benefits seen with in-person communication for medication taking.

Summary: Integration of in-person contacts with technology-driven medication adherence reminders, electronic medication reconciliation, and pharmaceutical databases may improve medication adherence and have a positive effect on cardiovascular clinical outcomes. Opportunities for providers to monitor the quality of care based on new adherence research are evolving and may be useful as standards for quality improvement emerge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Cell Phone
  • Databases, Factual
  • Electronic Mail
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Reminder Systems*
  • Self Care / methods*