University of Michigan: Text reminders help hypertensive patients adhere to medication regimens

In a new study, researchers at the University of Michigan have found that text messaging is a useful and inexpensive method to help hypertensive patients adhere to medication regimens on time.

The study was published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth and was led by Lorraine Buis, PhD, an assistant professor at the university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her study gaged how low-income, minority patients with high blood pressure responded to text messages reminding them to take their medication.

With more than 78 million Americans aged 20 years and older with hypertension, the study poses one solution providers can use to help their patients manage their condition.

“It’s a simple intervention,” Buis said in a statement. “It’s clear that a text message program may not be appropriate for everyone; however, for a large subset of people, this may be a feasible, acceptable and low-cost strategy to motivate positive behavior changes.”

In the month-long study, Buis compared two groups of black patients with uncontrolled hypertension, who were all recruited from primary care practices and emergency departments. There were 123 patients in total and they were all older than 18. Then they were randomly allocated to a control group or to a group that would receive daily automated medication text message reminders.

Results showed that patients who received text messages were more likely to stick to a medication schedule.

“It was very easy to use,” Buis said. “The patients reported they liked using the program and would definitely recommend it to others.”