5 September 2018

Mobile apps prove effective for heart medication


Smartphone apps designed to help patients with their for heart medication do work, but there’s no need to splash out on a flash one, an Australian study has found.

University of Sydney researchers told the European Society of Cardiology Congress last month that even basic apps, some of which are cost-free, were effective in improving medication use.

A three-month randomised clinical trial involving 160 mainly male patients, with an average aged of 58 years, compared medication usage of patients in usual care to those supported to download and use medication apps.

The researchers compared the use of basic apps (with one-time reminder alarms) to those with more advanced features. They found no extra benefits were gained from the using the apps with customisable and interactive features such as snooze reminders, dosage tracking and alerts for friends of family if a dose was missed.

Those participants using either a basic or an advanced app had significantly higher adherence to their medication as measured using the eight-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (p = .008), compared with those on standard care.

“It’s exciting that a basic app – some of which can be accessed for free – could help improve people’s medication use and prevent further cardiovascular complications,” lead author Dr Karla Santo said.

Dr Santo said further research was needed to see if apps could be used to sustain medication adherence over a longer period and what impact these had on health outcomes, as well as additional measure such as blood pressure and cholesterol.