Effect of electronic adherence monitoring on adherence and outcomes in chronic conditions: A systematic review and meta-analysis


INTRODUCTION: Electronic adherence monitoring (EAM) is increasingly used to improve adherence. However, there is limited evidence on the effect of EAM in across chronic conditions and on patient acceptability. We aimed to assess the effect of EAM on adherence and clinical outcomes, across all ages and all chronic conditions, and examine acceptability in this systematic review and meta-analysis. METHODS: A systematic search of Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Social Work Abstracts, PsycINFO, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts and CINAHL databases was performed from database inception to December 31, 2020. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the effect of EAM on medication adherence as part of an adherence intervention in chronic conditions were included. Study characteristics, differences in adherence and clinical outcomes between intervention and control were extracted from each study. Estimates were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis, and presented as mean differences, standardised mean differences (SMD) or risk ratios depending on the data. Differences by study-level characteristics were estimated using subgroup meta-analysis to identify intervention characteristics associated with improved adherence. Effects on adherence and clinical outcomes which could not be meta-analysed, and patient acceptability, were synthesised narratively. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guideline was followed, and Risk of bias (RoB) assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s RoB tool for RCTs. The review is registered with PROSPERO CRD42017084231. FINDINGS: Our search identified 365 studies, of which 47 studies involving 6194 patients were included. Data from 27 studies (n = 2584) were extracted for the adherence outcome. The intervention group (n = 1267) had significantly better adherence compared to control (n = 1317), (SMD = 0.93, CI:0.69 to 1.17, p<0.0001) with high heterogeneity across studies (I2 = 86%). There was a significant difference in effect according to intervention complexity (p = 0.01); EAM only improved adherence when used with a reminder and/or health provider support. Clinical outcomes were measured in 38/47 (81%) of studies; of these data from 14 studies were included in a meta-analysis of clinical outcomes for HIV, hypertension and asthma. In total, 13/47 (28%) studies assessed acceptability; patient perceptions were mixed. INTERPRETATION: Patients receiving an EAM intervention had significantly better adherence than those who did not, but improved adherence did not consistently translate into clinical benefits. Acceptability data were mixed. Further research measuring effects on clinical outcomes and patient acceptability are needed.


Chan AHY, Foot H, Pearce CJ, Horne R, Foster JM, Harrison J




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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