Smartphone app increases patient adherence to heart attack therapies

Written by Ilana Landau, Editor

Novel research demonstrates that patients who receive smartphone app reminders versus written advice are more likely to adhere to their prescribed medicines following incidence of a heart attack.

Following heart attack incidence, patients are routinely prescribed medications to mitigate post-event symptoms and the likelihood of a second attack occurring. However, patient adherence to prescribed medicines is poor. In a new study, presented at the 45th Argentine Congress of Cardiology (SAC 2019; 17—19 October, Buenos Aires, Argentina), researchers describe improved adherence to post-heart attack medications by patients who received smartphone app reminders compared with conventional written treatment advice.

Approximately 25% of patients discontinue at least one prescribed medication with 30 days of their experiencing a heart attack.

In this study, researchers from the Cardiovascular Institute of Buenos Aires (Argentina) evaluated the treatment adherence patterns of patients supplied with either standard written medication advice or smartphone app reminders for their prescribed post-heart attack therapies.

At 90 days post heart attack incidence, patients’ medication adherence was measured using the Morisky Medical Adherence Scale (MMAS-8).

For patients of the smartphone app group, their prescribed medication schedules were uploaded to app and alarms would ring each time a pill should be taken. Patients confirmed their having taken their pills in the app and clinicians could check patients’ daily adherence using a platform linked to patient’s smartphones.

At 90 days, 65% of smartphone app-group patients were correctly adhering to their medication regimes. By contrast, only 21% of patients who received standard care — in the form of written medication instructions — were still taking their medications.

Senior study author Juan Pablo Costabel, a cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Institute of Buenos Aires, commented: “Adherence to treatment after a heart attack increased with the use of a smartphone application. This is a low cost and easy way to improve medical compliance in this setting.”