How texting tools boost adherence rates

'General usability of the MIS application was high, regardless of platform type, with only a 5 percent error rate.'
By Eric Wicklund
10:40 AM
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In what is being hailed as a first step toward effective self-care, a mobile health medication inquiry system (MIS) has been proven to not only reduce errors but also bolster adherence.

The MIS platform, delivered as a text or personal digital assistant (PDA) message, prompted patients to input the information contained on one of three different sample prescription pill bottles sent to each patient. The patient would then receive one of three responses: "not safe in chronic kidney disease," "use with caution, speak with your healthcare provider" or "safe in chronic kidney disease."

Researchers see MIS as an ideal means of reducing medication errors and boosting patient engagement through home health monitoring. Indeed, the so-called "patient-centered medication safeguard" could be a valuable tool for providers who deal with the millions of patients who take multiple medications each day to manage conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, COPD, heart disease and diabetes.

A study conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine and University of Maryland School of Medicine, in fact, found few errors in the use of MIS among patients with chronic kidney disease checking the safety of their medications.

"General usability of the MIS application was high, regardless of platform type, with only a 5 percent error rate," Clarissa Jonas Diamantidis, MD, the Duke researcher in charge of the 20-patient study, said in a prepared statement. "The majority of participants found the application easy to use and helpful in avoiding the use of harmful medications, and they would recommend the application to others."

The results of the study were published in the July 28 edition of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, with an accompanying editorial from Bryan Becker, MD, of the University of Chicago.

"What Diamantidis and colleagues have done is extend that treatment platform beyond traditional care settings into the home," Becker wrote. "They have used a tool to create a small but very important first step in achieving patient engagement and patient satisfaction in self-care."

Ultimately, such a medication management protocol delivered through text or instant message may be the patient engagement tool that doctors need to help people with chronic conditions take care of themselves at home. 

This article originally appeared on Healthcare IT News sister site mHealth News