Technology Access and Smartphone App Preferences for Medication Adherence in Adolescents and Young Adults With Sickle Cell Disease

Badawy, S. M.; Thompson, A. A.; Liem, R. I.

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2016 Feb 5; 63(5):848-52

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Hydroxyurea is the only Food and Drug Administration approved medication for sickle cell disease (SCD) with short- and long-term benefits for both morbidity and mortality. However, hydroxyurea underutilization and adherence remain challenges for patients with SCD. The objectives of this study were to determine access to technology among adolescents and young adults (AYA) with SCD and to identify their preferred technology-based strategies for improving medication adherence. PROCEDURE: A cross-sectional survey was administered in a variety of clinical settings from October 2014 through May 2015 to AYA (12-22 years) with SCD (all genotypes) followed in a Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program. RESULTS: Eighty of 107 eligible participants completed the survey for a 75% response rate. Participants (51% female, 94% Black) had a mean age of 15.3 +/- 2.8 years. Most participants (75%) were on a daily medication with about half on hydroxyurea. Forgetfulness (67%) was the most common barrier to medication adherence. The majority of participants (85%) owned smartphones and either owned or had access to electronic tablets (83%), laptops (72%), or desktops (70%). Of the proposed smartphone app features, daily medication reminders were ranked first most frequently, followed by education about SCD, adherence text prompts, education about SCD medications, and medication log. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of our AYA with SCD owned smartphones and had access to other electronic devices. Our survey results provided valuable insight into the preferred app features and optimal strategies for developing technology-based interventions, such as a multicomponent app, to increase medication adherence for AYA with SCD or other chronic conditions.

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