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Drug monitoring information improves regimen adherence, Carnegie Mellon researchers say
Date:4/29/2014

PITTSBURGHMost people want to take mediations as prescribed, even if they sometimes need a little help remembering. For them, an automated system that monitors drug taking and provides feedback after the fact may be more useful than one that nags people when it is time to take a pill, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say.

In a 10-month study of such a system in the homes of older adults with chronic health problems, the researchers found that adherence to a medication regimen improved when people had ready access to a digital display of their medication-taking record. These people were more likely to take the correct medication promptly and at the same time of day than people who didn't receive the ongoing feedback.

What's important is that people feel that they are in control of their medication habits and that they obtain information that enables them to make improvements if necessary, said Anind Dey, associate professor in CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII). He and his co-author, Matthew Lee of Philips Research North America, will present their findings on April 30 at the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto.

Other systems have been developed that prompt patients when it is time to take their medications. But they can interfere with other routines, do nothing to reinforce an individual's initiative and may undermine a person's sense of autonomy.

"The people in our study were pretty confident in their ability to take medications as prescribed," Dey said. "They'd say, 'Oh, we're doing fine, we're doing fine.' Those aren't the sort of people who want to be told by a computer when to take a pill. But when they are shown instances where their medication routine falls short, they are motivated to improve."

This study involved 12 people in a Pittsburgh apartment building for low-income, older adults, who agreed to use a pillbox equipped with a sensor to register when they took each medicati
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Contact: Byron Spice
bspice@cs.cmu.edu
412-268-9068
Carnegie Mellon University
Source:Eurekalert

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