Improving adherence to cardiovascular disease medications with information technology

Am J Manag Care. 2014 Nov;20(11 Spec No. 17):SP502-10.


Objectives: Evaluate the utility of 2 electronic medical record (EMR)-linked, automated phone reminder interventions for improving adherence to cardiovascular disease medications.

Study design: A 1-year, parallel arm, pragmatic clinical trial in which 21,752 adults were randomized to receive either usual care (UC) or 1 of 2 interventions in the form of interactive voice recognition calls-regular (IVR) or enhanced (IVR+). The interventions used automated phone reminders to increase adherence to cardiovascular disease medications. The primary outcome was medication adherence; blood pressure and lipid levels were secondary outcomes.

Methods: The study took place in 3 large health maintenance organizations. We enrolled participants who were 40 years or older, had diabetes mellitus or atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and were suboptimally adherent. IVR participants received automated phone calls when they were due or overdue for a refill. IVR+ participants received these phone calls, plus personalized reminder letters, live outreach calls, EMR-based feedback to their primary care providers, and additional mailed materials.

Results: Both interventions significantly increased adherence to statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ACEIs/ARBs) compared with UC (1.6 to 3.7 percentage points). Adherence to ACEIs/ARBs was also significantly higher for IVR+ relative to IVR participants. These differences persisted across subgroups. Among statin users, IVR+ participants had significantly lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels at follow-up compared with UC (Δ = -1.5; 95% CI, -2.7 to -0.2 mg/dL); this effect was seen mainly in those with baseline LDL levels ≥ 100 mg/dL (Δ = -3.6; 95% CI, -5.9 to -1.3 mg/dL).

Conclusions: Technology-based tools, in conjunction with an EMR, can improve adherence to chronic disease medications and measured cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reminder Systems*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Telephone


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Lipids