Can technology help increase medication adherence in SMI?

Medication adherence is a common challenge in SMI. Many technology solutions have been proposed, including telephone check-ins, text messages, digital pills bottles that count when they are opened, smartphone apps, and more. 39 technology approaches for medication adherence for psychotic disorders were identified in a 2019 review paper that examined 36 for substance abuse disorders, 20 for major depression, and 9 for bipolar disorder. The study found that a chief limitation of much of this research is that studies on adherence often use self-reported adherence as an outcome. While this can make it challenging to draw a strong conclusion about the impact of technology on medication adherence, patient education and knowledge sharing around medications are core elements of most technology approaches. If considering a technology tool as part of care to increase medication adherence, focusing on how it will help the patient understand and be more engaged with care is the best approach today – and may matter more than what technology you pick to achieve that.


Steinkamp JM, Goldblatt N, Borodovsky JT, LaVertu A, Kronish IM, Marsch LA, Schuman-Olivier Z. Technological Interventions for Medication Adherence in Adult Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review. JMIR Ment Health 2019;6(3):e12493

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