+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Text Messaging and Mobile Phone Apps as Interventions to Improve Adherence in Adolescents With Chronic Health Conditions: A Systematic Review

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.



          The number of adolescents with chronic health conditions (CHCs) continues to increase. Medication nonadherence is a global challenge among adolescents across chronic conditions and is associated with poor health outcomes. While there has been growing interest in the use of mHealth technology to improve medication adherence among adolescents with CHCs, particularly text messaging and mobile phone apps, there has been no prior systematic review of their efficacy.


          The purpose of this review was to systematically evaluate the most recent evidence for the efficacy of text messaging and mobile phone apps as interventions to promote medication adherence among adolescents with CHCs.


          PubMed, Embase, CENTRAL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and additional databases were searched from 1995 until November 2015. An additional hand search of related themes in the Journal of Medical Internet Research was also conducted. The Preferred Reporting Results of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed. Two reviewers independently screened titles/abstracts, assessed full-text articles, extracted data from included articles, and assessed their quality using Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation criteria. Included studies were described in original research articles that targeted adherence in adolescents with CHCs (12-24 years-old).


          Of the 1423 records examined, 15 met predefined criteria: text messaging (n=12) and mobile phone apps (n=3). Most studies were performed in the United States (11/15, 73%), were randomized-controlled trials (8/15, 53%), had a sample size <50 (11/15, 73%), and included adherence self-report and/or biomarkers (9/15, 60%). Only four studies were designed based on a theoretical framework. Approaches for text messaging and mobile phone app interventions varied across studies. Seven articles (7/15, 47%) reported significant improvement in adherence with moderate to large standardized mean differences. Most of the included studies were of low or moderate quality. Studies varied in sample size, methods of adherence assessment, and definition of adherence, which prohibited performing a meta-analysis.


          The use of text messaging and mobile phone app interventions to improve medication adherence among adolescents with CHCs has shown promising feasibility and acceptability, and there is modest evidence to support the efficacy of these interventions. Further evaluation of short- and long-term efficacy and cost-effectiveness of these interventions is warranted given the early and evolving state of the science.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 45

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: not found
          • Article: not found

          Adherence to long-term therapies: evidence for action.

            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Impact of medication adherence on hospitalization risk and healthcare cost.

            The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of medication adherence on healthcare utilization and cost for 4 chronic conditions that are major drivers of drug spending: diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and congestive heart failure. The authors conducted a retrospective cohort observation of patients who were continuously enrolled in medical and prescription benefit plans from June 1997 through May 1999. Patients were identified for disease-specific analysis based on claims for outpatient, emergency room, or inpatient services during the first 12 months of the study. Using an integrated analysis of administrative claims data, medical and drug utilization were measured during the 12-month period after patient identification. Medication adherence was defined by days' supply of maintenance medications for each condition. The study consisted of a population-based sample of 137,277 patients under age 65. Disease-related and all-cause medical costs, drug costs, and hospitalization risk were measured. Using regression analysis, these measures were modeled at varying levels of medication adherence. For diabetes and hypercholesterolemia, a high level of medication adherence was associated with lower disease-related medical costs. For these conditions, higher medication costs were more than offset by medical cost reductions, producing a net reduction in overall healthcare costs. For diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension, cost offsets were observed for all-cause medical costs at high levels of medication adherence. For all 4 conditions, hospitalization rates were significantly lower for patients with high medication adherence. For some chronic conditions, increased drug utilization can provide a net economic return when it is driven by improved adherence with guidelines-based therapy.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Patient adherence and medical treatment outcomes: a meta-analysis.

              Adherence is a factor in the outcome of medical treatment, but the strength and moderators of the adherence-outcome association have not been systematically assessed. A quantitative review using meta-analysis of three decades of empirical research correlating adherence with objective measures of treatment outcomes. Sixty-three studies assessing patient adherence and outcomes of medical treatment were found involving medical regimens recommended by a nonpsychiatrist physician, and measuring patient adherence and health outcomes. Studies were analyzed according to disease (acute/chronic, severity), population (adult/child), type of regimen (preventive/treatment, use of medication), and type and sensitivity of adherence and outcomes measurements. Overall, the outcome difference between high and low adherence is 26%. According to a stringent random effects model, adherence is most strongly related to outcomes in studies of nonmedication regimens, where measures of adherence are continuous, and where the disease is chronic (particularly hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, intestinal disease, and sleep apnea). A less stringent fixed effects model shows a trend for higher adherence-outcome correlations in studies of less serious conditions, of pediatric patients, and in those studies using self-reports of adherence, multiple measures of adherence, and less specific measures of outcomes. Intercorrelations among moderator variables in multiple regression show that the best predictor of the adherence-outcome relationship is methodological-the sensitivity/quality of the adherence assessment.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Mhealth Uhealth
                JMIR Mhealth Uhealth
                JMIR mHealth and uHealth
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                May 2017
                15 May 2017
                : 5
                : 5
                1Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, ILUnited States
                2Zagazig University Faculty of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology ZagazigEgypt
                3Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant Chicago, ILUnited States
                4University of Kansas School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics Wichita, KSUnited States
                5Advocate Children's Hospital Department of Pediatrics Oak Lawn, ILUnited States
                6Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Galter Health Sciences Library Chicago, ILUnited States
                7Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, ILUnited States
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Sherif M Badawy sbadawy@
                ©Sherif M Badawy, Leonardo Barrera, Mohamad G Sinno, Saara Kaviany, Linda C O’Dwyer, Lisa M Kuhns. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (, 15.05.2017.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mhealth and uhealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                Original Paper
                Original Paper


                Comment on this article

                Similar content 192

                Cited by 49

                Most referenced authors 747