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Mobile Health Applications and Medication Adherence of Patients With Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published:December 26, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2021.11.003

      Introduction

      Current evidence has revealed the beneficial effects of mobile health applications on systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, there is still no solid evidence of the underlying factors for these outcomes, and hypertension treatment is performed mainly by medication intake. This study aims to analyze the impacts of health applications on medication adherence of patients with hypertension and understand the underlying factors.

      Methods

      A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted considering controlled clinical trials published, without year filter, through July 2020. The searches were performed in the electronic databases of Scopus, MEDLINE, and BVSalud. Study characteristics were extracted for qualitative synthesis. The meta-analysis examined medication-taking behavior outcomes using the generic inverse-variance method to combine multiple variables.

      Results

      A total of 1,199 records were identified, of which 10 studies met the inclusion criteria for qualitative synthesis, and 9 met the criteria for meta-analysis with 1,495 participants. The analysis of mean changes revealed significant improvements in medication adherence (standardized mean difference=0.41, 95% CI=0.02, 0.79, I2=82%, p=0.04) as well as the analysis of the values measured after follow-up (standardized mean difference=0.60, 95% CI=0.30, 0.90, I2=77%, p<0.0001). Ancillary improvements were also identified, such as patients’ perceived confidence, treatment self-efficacy and self-monitoring, acceptance of technology, and knowledge about the condition and how to deal with health issues.

      Discussion

      There is evidence that mobile health applications can improve medication adherence in patients with hypertension, with broad heterogeneity between studies on the topic. The use of mobile health applications conceivably leads to ancillary improvements inherent to better medication adherence.
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