Intelecare Assists With Pilot Study Involving Text Messaging, Medical Adherence, And HIV Positive Adolescents
Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital and Howard Brown Health Center will test the effectiveness of SMS reminders on improving HIV treatment outcomes
New Haven, CT - August 17, 2009 - For anti-retroviral therapy (ART) medication to work optimally and successfully suppress the HIV virus, patients must demonstrate near-perfect adherence. For HIV positive youth, following such a strict regimen can be especially difficult. To explore a new avenue that may potentially increase adherence rates and improve patient outcomes, doctors at the Children's Memorial Hospital of Chicago and the Howard Brown Health Center of Chicago are launching a pilot study that will examine the effect of two-way text messaging on medical adherence rates.
The study will follow a group of 25 HIV positive youths, between the ages of 12 and 25, over a six-month period. Utilizing the youths' cell phones, the researchers will send each patient personal reminders via text message each time they are scheduled to take their medication or to refill their prescription. The participants will also receive a confirmation text message that follows up on whether or not they completed their task - a text that they are encouraged to respond to.
While past studies have suggested that phone call reminders and directly observed therapy can improve adherence to ART medication, interventions have proved to be time-consuming, intrusive, and expensive.
"Studies have been conducted with things like alarm clocks and wrist watches, and it hasn't been very practical or very successful," said Robert Garofalo, a lead investigator on the study and deputy director at Howard Brown Health Center. "This idea came from our own clinical experiences - HIV positive kids were texting their friends while in the waiting room. Texting fits into their day-to-day lives and experiences, and we want to take advantage of that."
Also in hopes of designing a reminder system that smoothly integrates into individual patient's lives, Intelecare's texting reminder system allows the HIV positive youth to personalize their own medical adherence messages.
"From a public health perspective, strict adherence to HIV medicine is the whole ball of wax for keeping people healthy, and we want to assess how different kids find personalized messages helpful," said Garofalo. "One kid sends himself a message that says, 'Take your medicine or you will die.' Another kid writes, 'Time to eat your cookie.' It allows patients their privacy and it allows them to find what works for them."
In addition to studying the overall adherence rates of patients, researchers will also survey patient satisfaction. The youths will be asked if they received all of the reminders; how helpful the reminders were; how well the reminder respected their privacy; whether they would prefer SMS reminders versus standard care; and whether daily text-messaging changed their perception of provider accessibility.
"The beauty of this pilot is its simplicity," said Garofalo. "Texts are ever present in the lives of young people. Why not capitalize on the technology already in their lives?"
Established in 2005, Intelecare Compliance Solutions is a privately owned healthcare information technology company that provides an array of practical tools and services promoting medical adherence. With 84 percent of patients reporting forgetfulness as the major cause of non-compliance, and with the healthcare system suffering over $300 billion in costs annually due to non-compliance, Intelecare's solutions enable patients and caregivers alike to keep track of medications, doses, and doctor's appointments through the phone, mobile devices, and email - all while keeping simplicity, practicality, and innovation at the heart of its developments.
Aside from direct to patient services, Intelecare provides a suite of scalable services for insurers, employers, retail pharmacies, non-profit organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Currently supporting millions of covered lives, Intelecare is dedicated to finding functional solutions to the widespread issue of medical non-compliance that work the way people live.
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