Evidence of poor adherence to secondary prevention after acute coronary syndromes: possible remedies through the application of new technologies.
Cheng K., Ingram N., Keenan J., Choudhury RP.
Adherence to secondary prevention medications following acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is disappointingly low, standing around 40-75% by various estimates. This is an inefficient use of the resources devoted to their development and implementation, and also puts patients at higher risk of poor outcomes post-ACS. Numerous factors contribute to low adherence including poor motivation, forgetfulness, lack of education about medications, complicated polypharmacy of ACS regimens, (fear of) adverse side effects and limited practical support. Using technology to improve adherence in ACS is an emerging strategy and has the potential to address many of the above factors-computer-based education and mobile phone reminders are among the interventions trialled and appear to improve adherence in patients with ACS. As we move into an increasingly technological future, there is potential to use devices such as smartphones and tablets to encourage patient responsibility for medications. These handheld technologies have great scope for allowing patients to view online medical records, education modules and reminder systems, and although research specific to ACS is limited, they have shown initial promise in terms of uptake and improved adherence among similar patient populations. Given the overwhelming enthusiasm for handheld technologies, it would seem timely to further investigate their role in improving ACS medication adherence.