Improving Medication Adherence With Telemedicine for Adults With Severe Mental Illness

Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Mar 1;70(3):225-228. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2019 Jan 17.


Objective: The study evaluated a telephone call and text message intervention to improve adherence to medication among patients with severe mental illness.

Methods: A randomized clinical trial was conducted, and outpatients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were assigned to the intervention group or to a usual care control group. The intervention was provided by trained nurses. Medication adherence was measured with the Medication Adherence Report Scale.

Results: The study sample comprised 120 participants. Logistic regression analysis showed that intervention group participants were significantly more likely than control group participants to be medication adherent at 6 months (odds ratio=4.11, p=.007). The superiority of the intervention emerged during months 4 to 6. Social desirability, diagnosis, and medication did not affect the results.

Conclusions: Telemedicine via telephone can deliver low-threshold support to patients who are otherwise at high risk of progressive nonadherence to their psychotropic medication after 6 months.

Keywords: Mental health systems/hospitals; Psychiatry/general; Telecommunications.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Telephone
  • Text Messaging
  • Time Factors


  • Psychotropic Drugs