Recent study conducted by researchers from Queen Mary University, London finds texting an effective method for improving patient’s compliance to long term regimes of therapeutic drugs.
Compliance is the term used in medicine for a patient’s level of following advice from the health care provider. This may be the used for the degree of adherence of the patient to the prescribed use of drugs or even a device. Most commonly the term is used for drugs prescribed.
Worldwide patient’s compliance is a major factor in effective treatment. A couple of factors affect compliance; quality of patient-doctor relationship, cost of drugs, the number of drugs to be taken at a time, lengthy regimens, under-discussed side effects, poor drug literacy, and benefits of the regimen may all be responsible for hindrance or adherence in taking a medicine the way it is advised.
The study has found text messages to be a compliance booster enabling patients to take medications on time consequently yielding better therapeutic results.
The study comprised of a sample of 300 people who were on prescription drugs for hypertension and/or cholesterol. The researchers tracked these people on their compliance and how it was affected by text message reminders. The participants of the study were divided in two groups: One group received text messages as reminders and the other did not.
Reminder test messages were sent initially every day for two weeks, every other day for two week and once a week for six months. The text reminders were sent to group one in a manner that they were asked to respond in a positive when they had taken their medication. In cases where they failed to do so senders would call them.
These groups of the sample were then asked to come in for a follow up and it was concluded that a mere total of nine percent of group one failed to adhere to the prescribed medication whereas, a total of one fourth that is a twenty five percent of the second group which received no reminders failed to complete their medications.
The researchers are of the view that these findings can provide doctors, hospitals and pharmacists means of ensuring compliance of the patient to the regimens and also identifying those patients who are most likely to fall short of adhering to the medical advice. The researchers continue to work on the issue on larger samples of patients.