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Text Messages Improve Medication Adherence

A man looks at the screen of his smartphone.The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends the use of text messaging interventions to increase medication adherence among patients with chronic medical conditions. Evidence from a systematic review shows interventions lead to meaningful improvements in short-term rates of medication adherence.

Patients receive regular text messages reminding or encouraging them to take their medications as prescribed. The messages must be accessible through mobile phones and may be personalized for patients or involve two-way communication with a healthcare provider.

A team of specialists in systematic review methods and in nutrition research, practice, and policy selected and evaluated a published systematic review of 16 randomized controlled trials:

Thakkar J, Kurup R, Laba TL, Santo K, Thiagalingam A, et al. Mobile telephone text messaging for medication adherence in chronic disease. JAMA Internal Medicine 2016;176(3):340-9.

The CPSTF finding is based on results from the published review, additional information from the included studies, and expert input from team members and the CPSTF.

Chronic disease continues to be a leading cause of death, disability, and healthcare costs in the United States. Today, 1 in 2 U.S. adults has a chronic disease while 1 in 4 U.S. adults has two or more (CDC, 2017 External Web Site Icon). Poor adherence to long-term therapies leads to poor health outcomes and increased health care costs.

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