Topical glaucoma medications lower intraocular pressure and alter the course of the disease. Because adherence with glaucoma medications is a known problem, interventions are needed to help those patients who do not take their medications as prescribed.
To assess the ability of an automated telecommunication-based intervention to improve adherence with glaucoma medications.
Design, Setting, and Participants
We performed a prospective cohort study of medication adherence, followed by a randomized intervention for those found to be nonadherent, of individuals recruited from a university-based glaucoma subspecialty clinic. A total of 491 participants were enrolled in the initial assessment of adherence. Of those, 70 were nonadherent with their medications after 3 months of electronic monitoring and randomized to intervention and control groups.
A personal health record was used to store the list of patient medications and reminder preferences. On the basis of those data, participants randomized to the intervention received daily messages, either text or voice, reminding them to take their medication. Participants randomized to the control group received usual care.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Difference in adherence before and after initiation of the intervention.
Using an intent-to-treat analysis, we found that the median adherence rate in the 38 participants randomized to the intervention increased from 53% to 64% (P < .05). There was no statistical change in 32 participants in the control group. To assess the real efficacy of the intervention, the same comparison was performed for the participants who successfully completed the study after randomization. Analyzed this way, the adherence rate in the 20 participants in the intervention group increased from 54% to 73% (P < .05), whereas there was again no statistical change in the 19 participants in the control group. Eighty-four percent of the participants who received reminders agreed they were helpful and would continue using them outside the study.
Conclusions and Relevance
Automated telecommunication-based reminders linked to data in a personal health record improved adherence with once-daily glaucoma medications. This is an effective method to improve adherence that could realistically be implemented in ophthalmology practices with a minimum amount of effort on the part of the practice or the patient.