Barriers to medication adherence, mHealth use in medically underserved patients
Diverse experiences must be considered when engaging patients in the use of mobile health (mHealth) for medication adherence, suggests a recent study. Better outcomes are expected if personalized approaches are provided to assist patients when making their medication adherence strategies.
The authors conducted qualitative cross-sectional focus groups with underserved patients recruited at a federally qualified health centre to explore barriers to medication adherence and identify opportunities and challenges for the potential use of mHealth adherence interventions in an underserved population.
The focus group guide was developed using the Health Belief Model as theoretical framework. Finally, common themes across the data set were identified by transcribing and thematically analysing the audio-recorded data.
Four focus groups were conducted involving 17 patients. The following themes were generated to organize the results: (1) perceived barriers to medication adherence, (2) everyday practices used to improve medication adherence, and (3) perceived benefits and barriers to technology use.
Findings showed that use of text messages was beneficial, but this was limited by patients who do not carry a phone always. While some patients were willing to try smartphone applications, there were those who said that they would not be able to afford them.
Other barriers to medication adherence that were reported included changes in daily routine and complexity of medication regimens.
“Evidence suggests that the prevalence of medication nonadherence is greater in medically underserved, low-income communities. There is paucity of qualitative data examining the potential use of mHealth in underserved patients,” the authors said.