Although compliance to the treatment plan is critical in patients with chronic diseases, medication adherence is typically poor. Estimates of compliance from patients and providers are unreliable, therefore most efforts to improve adherence currently rely on in-person visits. Ultimately, there is no current mechanism for tracking daily compliance easily and also actively interacting with patients to improve their compliance and overall health management.
This project is an Intensive Training Program (ITP) that uses mobile health technology to improve disease knowledge and increase compliance in pediatric patients with sickle cell disease who are currently taking hydroxyurea. Hydroxyurea is a daily medication that, when taken properly, decreases disease complications, and has been recently recommended for broad use with pediatric patients (Yawn et al.,2014: doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10517). We will utilize our ITP, delivered via a self-developed mobile app to address these issues. Patients will use the ITP app to upload daily “selfies” to track and monitor medication compliance; ongoing education modules with a provider aim to enhance our patients' understanding of their disease and the importance of health management; and patients will receive “selfies” with feedback from the study team providing support for efforts and successes as they reach their medication management goals.
Through this project, we will measure and expect to improve patient compliance, health outcomes and relevant lab parameters, and importantly, quality of life. Eventually, the ITP will be expanded to additional treatment targets as well as additional chronic illness populations. We hope that by extension of this program, we can help increase patient compliance to medications, enhance self-efficacy for health management, and improve the communication between healthcare providers and patients, thereby enhancing overall health and health management for our patients.