3 years ago

Smartphone Applications for Educating and Helping Non-motivating Patients Adhere to Medication That Treats Mental Health Conditions: Aims and Functioning.

Angeliki Detzortzi, Angelos P Kassianos, Electra P Papaconstantinou, Giorgos Georgiou, Rob Horne
Background: Patients prescribed with medication that treats mental health conditions benefit the most compared to those prescribed with other types of medication. However, they are also the most difficult to adhere. The development of mobile health (mHealth) applications ("apps") to help patients monitor their adherence is fast growing but with limited evidence on their efficacy. There is no evidence on the content of these apps for patients taking psychotropic medication. The aim of this study is to identify and evaluate the aims and functioning of available apps that are aiming to help and educate patients to adhere to medication that treats mental health conditions. Method: Three platform descriptions (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) were searched between October 2015 and February 2016. Included apps need to focus on adherence to medication that treats mental health conditions and use at least a reinforcement strategy. Descriptive information was extracted and apps evaluated on a number of assessment criteria using content analysis. Results: Sixteen apps were identified. All apps included self-monitoring properties like reminders and psycho-educational properties like mood logs. It was unclear how the latter were used or how adherence was measured. Major barriers to medication adherence like patients' illness and medication beliefs and attitudes were not considered nor where information to patients about mediation side effects. Very few apps were tailored and none was developed based on established theories explaining the processes for successful medication adherence like cognitions and beliefs. Reported information on app development and validation was poor. Discussion: A variety of apps with different properties that tackle both intentional and unintentional non-adherence from a different perspective are identified. An evidence-based approach and co-creation with patients is needed. This will ensure that the apps increase the possibility to impact on non-adherence. Theories like social cognition models can be useful in ensuring that patients' education, motivation, skills, beliefs, and type of adherence are taken into consideration when developing the apps. Findings from this study can help clinicians and patients make informed choices and pursue policy-makers to integrate evidence when developing future apps. Quality-assurance tools are needed to ensure the apps are systematically evaluated.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01769

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01769

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