Digital Medicine System in Veterans With Severe Mental Illness: Feasibility and Acceptability Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Suboptimal medication adherence is a significant problem for patients with serious mental illness. Measuring medication adherence through subjective and objective measures can be challenging, time-consuming, and inaccurate. OBJECTIVE: The primary purpose of this feasibility and acceptability study was to evaluate the impact of a digital medicine system (DMS) among Veterans (patients) with serious mental illness as compared with treatment as usual (TAU) on medication adherence. METHODS: This open-label, 2-site, provider-randomized trial assessed aripiprazole refill adherence in Veterans with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder. We randomized 26 providers such that their patients either received TAU or DMS for a period of 90 days. Semistructured interviews with patients and providers were used to examine the feasibility and acceptability of using the DMS. RESULTS: We enrolled 46 patients across 2 Veterans Health Administration sites: 21 (46%) in DMS and 25 (54%) in TAU. There was no difference in the proportion of days covered by medication refill over 3 and 6 months (0.82, SD 0.24 and 0.75, SD 0.26 in DMS vs 0.86, SD 0.19 and 0.82, SD 0.21 in TAU, respectively). The DMS arm had 0.85 (SD 0.20) proportion of days covered during the period they were engaged with the DMS (mean 144, SD 100 days). Interviews with patients (n=14) and providers (n=5) elicited themes salient to using the DMS. Patient findings described the positive impact of the DMS on medication adherence, challenges with the DMS patch connectivity and skin irritation, and challenges with the DMS app that affected overall use. Providers described an overall interest in using a DMS as an objective measure to support medication adherence in their patients. However, providers described challenges with the DMS dashboard and integrating DMS data into their workflow, which decreased the usability of the DMS for providers. CONCLUSIONS: There was no observed difference in refill rates. Among those who engaged in the DMS arm, the proportion of days covered by refills were relatively high (mean 0.85, SD 0.20). The qualitative analyses highlighted areas for further refinement of the DMS. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT03881449;

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gonzales, S; Okusaga, OO; Reuteman-Fowler, JC; Oakes, MM; Brown, JN; Moore, S; Lewinski, AA; Rodriguez, C; Moncayo, N; Smith, VA; Malone, S; List, J; Cho, RY; Jeffreys, AS; Bosworth, HB

Published Date

  • December 22, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 12

Start / End Page

  • e34893 -

PubMed ID

  • 36548028

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9816955

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2561-326X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2196/34893


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Canada