Using reminders to improve treatment adherence

Achieve good adherence to treatment is a challenge that health-related disciplines have been trying to improve for decades.

And it is that both in taking medications and when attending intervention or follow-up appointments, the drop-out rate is very high, and the negative impact this has on health is known. WHO has warned in numerous publications of its importance, especially in the case of chronic diseases. What can you do about it?

  • Related article: ” Adherence to treatment: why do some patients leave?

The causes of lack of adherence to therapy

Several studies have analyzed the causes of this high lack of adherence to treatment, finding five major factors:

  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Treatment related factors
  • Patient related factors
  • Factors related to the disease
  • Factors related to the sanitary equipment

All of them interact with each other and play a fundamental role in explaining why many patients end up abandoning a treatment they have started. , even when they have begun to notice the beneficial effects of it.

How to solve the problem? The power of reminders

Among the strategies proposed to improve adherence, in 1988 a study published by Masur and Anderson analyzed the possibility of using reminders , such as calling the patient by phone or sending a reminder card within behavioral techniques to improve adhesion.

With the arrival of mobile phones, different studies have investigated the effectiveness of using reminders through SMS or daily alarms and, with smartphones, the possibility of using this kind of resources through APPs opens up that do this work .

Various monographs such as the 2017 SEFH and review of publications point to the importance of reminders as a way to increase therapeutic adherence. A small detail such as finding a notice in a timely manner can make the treatment continue without interruption , especially when you are several days in a row without direct contact with a health professional who supervises our case.

Therefore, everything indicates that this kind of simple stimuli are able to improve the degree of commitment that patients have with respect to therapy.

The case of mental health services

Especially important is to achieve better adherence to treatment in patients in the area of mental health , since studies conducted in people of this group have provided evidence that depression, anxiety and stress are predictors of reduced adherence to treatment .

Studies conducted on the perception of patients who are given reminder tools suggest that the vast majority of them accept this type of help and are satisfied with it once it is launched.

The studies and reviews carried out also show the need to help adolescents and young people, more related to new technologies , to whom support through mobile applications can be especially interesting and not only as an alarm reminder path if not as a way to receive psychoeducational material or support from other people in your situation, factors that are also known relevant in improving adherence to treatment.

PsicoReg: an application with multiple resources

In this line, one of the PPPs that is working very well is PsicoReg (psicoreg.com), a powerful tool that allows sharing psychoeducational material with the patient as well as remembering appointments through the APP, making records, designing task follow-ups. , store the medical history and, in addition, facilitates compliance with data protection regulations.

Through a simple and easy-to-use interzaz by both the psychologist and the patient, this application allows both to be connected between sessions, so that the influence of psychotherapy is noticed even when the person who needs professional help is not in the consultation . Resources such as PsicoReg help patients to adopt habits consistently over weeks and months, something that is essential not only for them to continue meeting with therapists, but for the intervention to work and the person see their quality of life.

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