'Smart' pill bottles, not just counseling, improve med adherence

Now here's a study we don't need to mock: "Smart" pill bottles that record when patients take their medication and then transmit that information to healthcare professionals helped improve medication adherence by 40 percent among kidney transplant recipients when combined with telephone counseling by nurses.

That is the key finding of research by the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, published last month in the journal Clinical Transplantation, according to American Medical News. "Medication adherence doesn't really change with education about the disease or the drug," lead author and Sinclair nursing professor Cynthia Russell says, amednews reports. "What works is this whole idea of self-monitoring."

The monitoring system sent messages of encouragement and trends based on the recorded data on how well the transplant patients were following their drug regimens to help their bodies accept the new kidneys. The phone counseling offered personalized tips on how to remember to take their meds. For example, amednews says, a counselor advised one patient who kept forgetting to medicate in the morning to put the pills in the car for the commute to work.

"We're probably spending too much time focusing on patient education, and we probably need to focus on these kinds of techniques to help patients actually change their medication adherence," Russell says.

To learn more:
- read this American Medical News story

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