Hospital to test medication text reminders for teenage transplant patients

We all know teens love to text and we've seen the studies showing text reminders help boost medication adherence in some adolescent and adult populations, but what if it's for a serious condition that requires constant monitoring such as follow-up care for heart transplant recipients?

That's what researchers at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital will try to find out during a year-long study with teenage patients who must take immunosuppressant drugs every day for the rest of their lives to prevent rejection of the transplanted heart. The hospital is teaming up with New Jersey mobile healthcare company CareSpeak Communications to send medication reminder messages to the cell phones of teenage patients and their caregivers and, hopefully, receive confirmation texts in return.

As Healthcare IT News reports, literature published in the journal Pediatric Transplantation identifies medication nonadherence as the No. 1 reason long-term transplant patients reject transplanted organs and says adolescents have the highest risk of failure. "Studies have shown that more than half of all teenage liver transplant recipients are non-adherent, and they are four times more likely than adult patients to take their medications at the wrong time or to forget to take them at all," according to Healthcare IT News.

The Manhattan hospital will send out messages such as, "Joe it's 8:15am, time to take 1 pill Prograf 1mg. Press REPLY, enter CARE 1 and press SEND." If the patient or caregiver doesn't respond within a pre-set length of time, the system will send "escalation" alerts to as many as two caregivers, or someone involved in the program will personally call the patient's cell phone. CareSpeak provides a portal for physicians and nurses to monitor patient compliance and the frequency of escalation messages.

To learn more:
- take a look at this Healthcare IT News story