The attitudes of pharmacists, students and the general public on mHealth applications for medication adherence
Main Article Content
Cellular Phone, Computers, Handheld, Medication Adherence, Patient Preference, Pharmacists, Questionnaires, United Kingdom
Background: During recent years mobile technology has developed tremendously and has infiltrated the healthcare field. Mobile healthcare (mHealth) applications, or apps, may be used to support patient adherence to medication thus promoting optimal treatment outcomes and reducing medication wastage.
Objective: This study shall consider the opinions of United Kingdom (UK) based pharmacists, pharmacy undergraduates and members of the general public towards the use of mHealth apps to promote adherence to prescribed medication regimens.
Methods: On Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) ethical approval, the 25 item questionnaire was distributed to UK registered pharmacists within inner city Liverpool and Manchester (n=500), pharmacy undergraduates studying at LJMU (n=420) and members of the general public within Liverpool City Centre (n=400). The questions were formatted as multiple choice, Likert scales or the open answer type. The data were analysed using simple frequencies, cross tabulations and non-parametric techniques in the SPSS v22 program.
Results: The number of completed questionnaires from the pharmacist, student and general public cohorts were 245, 333 and 400; respectively. The data indicated that the general public rely heavily upon daily routine to take medication as prescribed (54.1%) with mHealth app use being extremely low (1.5%); a similar trend was noted for the pharmacist / student cohorts. The age of the individual is an important consideration, with the younger generation likely to engage with mHealth apps and the older generation less so. Here, education and training are important. Pharmacists (82.3%) would be happy to deliver training packages to the public who would in turn happily receive such training (84%). Key barriers precluding mHealth app use include data reliability, security and technical difficulties.
Conclusion: Adherence apps hold great promise to support the patient and their healthcare needs. In order to increase acceptance and uptake simple, user-friendly designs must be considered and constructed. In addition, such technology requires effective promotion and end user training in order to reach its full potential. Furthermore, the regulation of mobile adherence apps will be essential in order to overcome underlying patient concerns.
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