Patient participation in the development of a customized m-Health intervention to improve medication adherence in poorly adherent individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) and hypertension (HTN)

Carol Blixen, Martha Sajatovic, David J. Moore, Colin Depp, Clint Cushman, Jamie Cage, Marina Barboza, Logan Eskew, Peter Klein, Jennifer B. Levin


Objective: Individuals living with bipolar disorder (BD) have poorer management of chronic medical conditions such as hypertension (HTN), and worse treatment adherence than the general population. The study objective was to obtain information from patients with both BD and HTN that would inform the development of an m-Health intervention to improve medication adherence for poorly adherent individuals living with both these chronic illnesses.

Methods: Focus group methodology was used to collect information from 13 participants on perceived barriers and facilitators to BD and HTN medication adherence, as well as feedback on the demonstration and use of a bidirectional text messaging system for medication reminders. Focus groups were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using content analysis with an emphasis on dominant themes.

Results: Forgetfulness was the most frequently mentioned barrier to taking antihypertensive medications, and decisions about taking them were often influenced by BD mood fluctuations and the burden of having to take “too many pills” for both chronic illnesses. Participants’ feedback about the use of a text-messaging system to help with medication adherence for BD and HTN was very positive, and their suggestions for modification were incorporated into a more customized system for testing in a Phase 2 trial.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that patient engagement in the development of an m-Health intervention has the potential to improve adherence with both BD and HTN medications in individuals with known sub-optimal adherence. Patient engagement in health care is essential if we are to optimize patient outcomes.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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