Nurse-led mobile health intervention to promote cardiovascular medication adherence in a cardiac rehabilitation setting: a pilot feasibility study
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Background - Mobile health (mHealth) interventions to promote medication adherence have shown promise; among patients primarily diagnosed with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), however, there is a lack of evidence for nurse-led mHealth interventions, in this particular group in Iran. Aim - To refine and evaluate a pre-developed nurse-led mHealth intervention to promote cardiovascular medication adherence in Iranian adult, male and female Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) outpatients. Methods - A quantitative-dominant mixed methods study was conducted drawing upon the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Framework on the development and evaluation of complex interventions. Phase 1 comprised of a self-completion CHD patients’ survey (n=123) and three focus groups with cardiac nurses (n=23) within three public university-affiliated hospitals in Tehran, which in turn informed Phase 2 (the exploratory trial phase). The automated Short Message Service (SMS) medication reminder was designed based on the dimensions of adherence suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Bandura’ Self-efficacy Theory. The intervention was refined according to the findings from Phase 1 and then piloted in an Iranian CR setting. Seventy eight CHD patients who were 18 years or older, and had mobile phone access were recruited and randomised to receive either daily SMS reminders (n=39) or usual care (n=39) for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the effect on cardiovascular medication adherence as measured by the self-reported Morisky Medication Adherence Scale; secondary outcomes explored the feasibility of the mHealth intervention, intervention effect on medication adherence selfefficacy, cardiac ejection fraction, cardiac functional capacity, hospital readmission/ death rate and health-related quality of life. Patient acceptability was assessed through completion of a post-intervention survey. Results - Feasibility was evidenced by high ownership of mobile phones in CHD patients, high application of SMS messaging, positive patients’ perception about the intervention, suboptimal cardiovascular medication adherence and patients’ high interest in receiving SMS reminders for their medications. Participants in the intervention group showed higher self-reporting of medication adherence compared to the usual care group χ2 (2) = 23.447; P<0.001. The Relative Risk (RR) was indicated that it was 2.19 times more likely for the control group to be less adherent to their medications than the intervention group (RR = 2.19; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.5 - 3.19). All secondary outcomes improved in the intervention group at the end of the study. Acceptability was evidenced by participants who received the intervention reporting that they perceived the SMS reminders useful. Conclusion - The SMS medication reminder intervention was well accepted and feasible with significantly higher reporting of medication adherence in Iranian CHD patients. Effect sizes were established for use in future follow-up evaluations of the mHealth intervention.