Apps a timely reminder for those on heart medication

August 26, 2018

We use them for everything from banking to workouts, and now research from the University of Sydney shows mobile apps could potentially save lives by helping people with coronary heart disease keep on top of their medication.

Published today in Heart, and presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Germany, the study shows the use of high-quality medication reminder apps increases people's adherence to cardiovascular medication.

While medication apps have long been available online, this is some of the first research to explore the evidence around their effectiveness in people with heart disease and whether they work in terms of health and behaviour.

Senior author Associate Professor Julie Redfern said coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death globally and around 40 percent of patients do not adhere to their medications, therefore increasing their risk of subsequent heart attacks.

"Patients with coronary heart disease can become overwhelmed with the amount of pills they are taking as they are often prescribed up to four different types of medication, which need to be taken sometimes up to three times a day," said Associate Professor Redfern from the University of Sydney's Westmead Applied Research Centre.

The randomised clinical trial followed 160 predominately male patients over a three month period and compared the medication usage of patients in usual care to those supported to download and use medication apps.

Researchers also compared the use of basic apps (with one-time reminder alarms) to those with more advanced features. They found no additional benefits were gained from the advanced apps with elements such as the ability to snooze reminders and track taken and missed doses, adherence statistics and social support structures including alerting a friend or family member to missed doses.

Lead author Dr Karla Santo from the University of Sydney said the results from the trial are very encouraging.

"It's exciting that a basic app - some of which can be accessed for free - could help improve people's medication use and prevent further cardiovascular complications."

In 2016, Dr Santo and colleagues from the University of Sydney and George Institute for Global Health conducted a review of medication reminder apps available via iTunes and Google app stores.

The review rated Medisafe as the top ranking interactive app, and My Heart my Life (currently being updated) and Pill reminder among the top basic apps available at the time. However, the vast majority of the apps on the market were judged to be low quality.

Dr Santo said the next step is to carry out further research to see if apps can be used to sustain medication adherence over a longer period and the impact this has on health outcomes. Also, to trial the apps for other health conditions such as cancer, lung disease and stroke.

"Participants in our trial were followed up after 3 months but longer term and larger studies are more likely to be able to show benefits or challenges of app usage, as well as the impact on additional measures such as blood pressure and cholesterol."
-end-
The clinical trial is a collaboration between the University of Sydney's Westmead Applied Research Centre, the George Institute for Global Health and Westmead Hospital, with colleagues from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research and University of New South Wales.

University of Sydney

Related Heart Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

New 'atlas' of human heart cells first step toward precision treatments for heart disease
Scientists have for the first time documented all of the different cell types and genes expressed in the healthy human heart, in research published in the journal Nature.

With a heavy heart: How men and women develop heart disease differently
A new study by researchers from McGill University has uncovered that minerals causing aortic heart valve blockage in men and women are different, a discovery that could change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.

Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Women once considered low risk for heart disease show evidence of previous heart attack scars
Women who complain about chest pain often are reassured by their doctors that there is no reason to worry because their angiograms show that the women don't have blockages in the major heart arteries, a primary cause of heart attacks in men.

Read More: Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.