Hypertension (HTN) is a major public health concern in the United States, with almost 78 million Americans age 20 years and over suffering from the condition. Moreover, HTN is a key risk factor for health disease and stroke. African Americans disproportionately shoulder the burdens of HTN, with greater prevalence, disease severity, earlier onset, and more HTN-related complications than age-matched whites. Medication adherence for the treatment of HTN is poor, with estimates indicating that only about half of hypertensive patients are adherent to prescribed medication regimens. Although no single intervention for improving medication adherence has emerged as superior to others, text message medication reminders have the potential to help improve medication adherence in African Americans with uncontrolled HTN as mobile phone adoption is very high in this population.
The purpose of this two-phased study was to develop (Phase I) and test in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) (Phase II) a text message system, BPMED, to improve the quality of medication management through increasing medication adherence in African Americans with uncontrolled HTN.
In Phase I, we recruited 16 target end-users from a primary care clinic, to assist in the development of BPMED through participating in one of three focus groups. Focus groups sought to gain patient perspectives on HTN, medication adherence, mobile phone use, and the use of text messaging to support medication adherence. Potential intervention designs were presented to participants, and feedback on the designs was solicited. In Phase II, we conducted two pilot RCTs to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of BPMED in primary care and emergency department settings. Both pilot studies recruited approximately 60 participants, who were randomized equally between usual care and the BPMED intervention.
Although data collection is now complete, data analysis from the two pilot RCTs is still ongoing and results are expected in 2015.
This study was designed to determine preliminary feasibility and acceptability of our approach among African Americans with uncontrolled HTN in primary care and emergency department settings. Results from these studies are of great interest as little work has been done to document the use of text message medication reminders to improve HTN-related outcomes, particularly within underserved urban minorities.