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Smartphone apps for improving medication adherence in hypertension: patients’ perspectives

Authors Morrissey EC, Casey M, Glynn LG, Walsh JC, Molloy GJ

Received 15 December 2017

Accepted for publication 20 March 2018

Published 14 May 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 813—822

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S145647

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen


Eimear C Morrissey,1,2 Monica Casey,3 Liam G Glynn,4 Jane C Walsh,2 Gerard J Molloy1

1Medication Adherence Across the Lifespan Research Group, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland; 2mHealth Research Group, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland; 3School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland; 4Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Purpose: Digital interventions, such as smartphone applications (apps), are becoming an increasingly common way to support medication adherence and self-management in chronic conditions. It is important to investigate how patients feel about and engage with these technologies. The aim of this study was to explore patients’ perspectives on smartphone apps to improve medication adherence in hypertension.
Methods: This was a qualitative study based in the West of Ireland. Twenty-four patients with hypertension were purposively sampled and engaged in focus groups. Thematic analysis on the data was carried out.
Results: Participants ranged in age from 50 to 83 years (M=65 years) with an equal split between men and women. Three major themes were identified in relation to patients’ perspectives on smartphone apps to improve medication adherence in hypertension: “development of digital competence,” “rules of engagement,” and “sustainability” of these technologies.
Conclusion: These data showed that patients can identify the benefits of a medication reminder and recognize that self-monitoring their blood pressure could be empowering in terms of their understanding of the condition and interactions with their general practitioners. However, the data also revealed that there are concerns about increasing health-related anxiety and doubts about the sustainability of this technology over time. This suggests that the current patient perspective of smartphone apps might be best characterized by “ambivalence.”

Keywords: qualitative, high blood pressure, digital technology, self-management, adherence, focus groups, thematic analysis
 

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