Automated Reminders Improve Medication Adherence & Cholesterol Control
In a published study, researchers observed that people who received automated reminders were more
likely to refill their blood pressure and cholesterol medications. The study included more than
21,000 Kaiser Permanente members in Oregon, Washington, Georgia, and Hawaii who had diabetes or
heart disease and who were on medications for management of their disease from 2010-2011. The
researchers examined the PROMPT reminder program and used three arms: usual care, an automated
telephone intervention, and a personalized health report and educational mailings. The interactive
phone calls lasted about 2-3 minutes, reminding patients to refill their prescription and then
giving them the option to be transferred to an automated refill line, or in some cases to speak
with the pharmacist.
At the beginning of the study, patients were taking their medications a little more than half the
time. Adherence levels went up among all participants, but increased by more (1.6-3.7%) among
participants who received the reminders. This may not seem significant, but the authors say that,
in a large population, even small changes can make a big difference. Patients in the enhanced
group also saw significant reductions in their cholesterol levels. The effect was more apparent in
those considered uncontrolled with levels above 100 mg/dl. On average, this group had a 3.6mg/dl
greater reduction in cholesterol compared to people with usual care who started uncontrolled but
received no reminders.
The small jump might not mean a lot to an individual patient, but on a population level, it could
translate into fewer health complications such as heart attacks, resulting in fewer deaths and
fewer hospitalizations to make a positive impact on public health.
(Ref: Cynthia S. Rand, PhD et al. Improving Adherence to Cardiovascular Disease Medications with
Information Technology. American Journal of Managed Care, November 2014).
NCPIE encourages healthcare professionals and community groups to foster patient–professional communication about medicines. However, NCPIE does not supervise or endorse the activities of any group or professional. Discussion and action concerning medicines are solely the responsibility of the patient and their healthcare professionals, and not NCPIE.
Please consult a licensed health care professional with questions or concerns about your medication and/or condition.