Around 10 percent of cardiovascular events are linked to poor medication adherence. While new technologies are available to help patients remember their medications, older adults might find it difficult to adopt these technologies, due to age-related physical and mental impairments or ethnic diversity.
In a new U.K. study, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge investigated how patients over the age of 65 feel about using available technologies to help them take their cardiovascular medications.
Overall, the participants said they would find this type of technology helpful, but that it would need to be familiar, accessible and easy to use. In addition, older adults who do not use smartphones said they would prefer to have smartwatches rather than smartphones to remind them to take their pills.
The findings are published in the Journal of International Medical Research.
There are numerous technologies available to help with medication adherence. Some include apps that allow patients to receive counseling about medications and reminders to improve and monitor tablet taking.
There are also interactive text message reminders for tablet taking. In addition, ingestible sensor systems (ISSs) are a combination of wearable and ingestible sensors working in conjunction with smartphones, personal computers and tablets to detect ingested medication.
According to the findings, the study participants generally valued the opportunity to receive alerts to help with practical aspects of medicine taking, such as forgetting and monitoring treatment.
Some of their concerns included potential reduction in face-to-face communication, data security, becoming dependent on technology and worrying about the consequences of technological failures.
“These findings have highlighted that people over 65 on cardiovascular medications are willing to consider technology to help with practical aspects of their day-to-day medicine taking, such as getting reminder alerts and monitoring doses taken, either themselves or by carers and clinicians,” said lead researcher Dr. Anna De Simoni from Queen Mary University of London.
“In clinical consultations about medicine taking, healthcare professionals can explore technologies familiar and easily accessible to patients as a way to ensure good adherence. To this end additionally checking on common concerns, like worries about data security, becoming dependent on technology and consequences of technological failures can be beneficial.”
An estimated 83.6 million American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Of these, 42.2 million are estimated to be over 60 years of age, according to the American Heart Association.
Source: Queen Mary University of London