The treatment of many chronic illnesses involves long-term pharmaceutical therapy, but it is an ongoing challenge to find effective ways to improve medication adherence to promote good health outcomes. Cardioprotective medications can prevent the enlargement of harmful clots, cardiovascular symptoms, and poor therapeutic outcomes, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia, for patients with coronary heart disease. Poor adherence to cardioprotective medications, however, has been reported as a global health concern among patients with coronary heart disease, and it is particularly a concern in China.
This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a mobile health (mHealth) intervention using 2 mobile apps to improve medication adherence and health outcomes.
A randomized, placebo-controlled, 2-arm parallel study was conducted in a major university-affiliated medical center located in Chengdu, China. Participants were recruited by flyers and health care provider referrals. Each participant was observed for 90 days, including a 60-day period of mHealth intervention and a 30-day period of nonintervention follow-up. The study coordinator used WeChat and Message Express to send educational materials and reminders to take medication, respectively. Participants used WeChat to receive both the educational materials and reminders. Participants in the control group only received educational materials. This study received ethics approval from the Duke Health Institutional Review Board (Pro00073395) on May 5, 2018, and was approved by West China Hospital (20170331180037). Recruitment began on May 20, 2018. The pilot phase of this study was registered on June 8, 2016, and the current, larger-scale study was retrospectively registered on January 11, 2021 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
We recruited 230 patients with coronary heart disease. Of these patients, 196 completed the baseline survey and received the intervention. The majority of participants were married (181/196, 92.4%), male (157/196, 80.1%), and lived in urban China (161/196, 82.1%). Participants' average age was 61 years, and half were retired (103/191, 53.9%). More than half the participants (121/196, 61.7%) were prescribed at least 5 medications. The mean decrease in medication nonadherence score was statistically significant at both 60 days (t179
=2.04, P=.04) and 90 days (t155
=3.48, P<.001). Systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure decreased in the experimental group but increased in the control group. The mean decrease in diastolic blood pressure was statistically significant at both 60 days (t160
=2.07, P=.04) and 90 days (t164
=2.21, P=.03). The mean decrease in systolic blood pressure was significantly different in the groups at 90 days (t165
The proposed mHealth intervention can improve medication adherence and health outcomes, including systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02793830; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02793830 and ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04703439; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04703439.