Digital Health for Medication Adherence in Adult Diabetes or Hypertension: An Integrative Review

JMIR Diabetes. 2017 Aug 16;2(2):e20. doi: 10.2196/diabetes.8030.


Background: Optimal management of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, often include prescription medications. Medication adherence (MA) is one component of self-management. Optimization through digital health-eHealth and mHealth-could enhance patient awareness and/or communication between the patient and provider.

Objective: Medication adherence is a major issue that affects 50%-60% of chronically ill adults. Digital health refers to eHealth and mHealth, collectively, and as these technologies become more accessible, remote health delivery is increasingly available as an adjunct to improve medication adherence; communicate with patients and providers; and provide education to patients, families, and communities. The objective of this integrative review was to examine the types of digital health technologies that targeted medication adherence in the adult population with diabetes or hypertension.

Methods: An integrative review was conducted using databases within EBSCOhost, PubMed, and Scopus. Eligible studies available as of September 2016 had to be written in English, had to contain digital health interventions to improve medication adherence to prescription medications in adults 18 years or older, and had to focus on diabetes or hypertension.

Results: Of the 337 located studies, 13 (3.9%) used a digital health intervention for medication adherence to prescribed medications for diabetes or hypertension and were assessed according to the Chronic Care Model.

Conclusions: The 13 studies included in this review found no conclusive evidence of improved medication adherence using digital health interventions such as interactive voice response (IVR), short message service (SMS) text messaging, telemonitoring, and interactive software technology. Among the 13 studies were digital health interventions that foster medication adherence via one-way communication to the patient or two-way communication between the patient and health care provider for adjunct medication adherence strategies. More research is needed to determine which digital health interventions are most beneficial for individuals with diabetes or hypertension.

Keywords: Chronic Care Model; diabetes; digital health; hypertension; medication adherence.

Publication types

  • Review