Electronic reminders and rewards to improve adherence to inhaled asthma treatment in adolescents: a non-randomised feasibility study in tertiary care

Anna De Simoni, L. Fleming, L Holliday, Rob Horne, S Priebe, A. Bush, Aziz Sheikh, Chris J Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To test the feasibility and acceptability of a short-term reminder and incentives intervention in adolescents with low adherence to asthma medications.
Mixed-methods feasibility study in a tertiary care clinic. Adolescents recruited to a 24-week programme with three 8-weekly visits, receiving electronic reminders to prompt inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) inhalation through a mobile app coupled with electronic monitoring devices (EMD). From the second visit, monetary incentives based on adherence of ICS inhalation: £1 per dose, maximum £2/day, up to £112/study, collected as gift cards at the third visit. End of study interviews and questionnaires assessing perceptions of asthma and ICS, analysed using the Perceptions and Practicalities Framework (PAPA).
Adolescents (11-18 years) with documented low ICS adherence (<80% by EMD), and poor asthma control at the first clinic visit.
10 out of 12 adolescents approached were recruited (7 males, 3 females, 12-16 years). Eight participants provided adherence measures up to the fourth visits and received rewards. Mean study duration was 281 days, with 7/10 participants unable to attend their fourth visit due to COVID-19 lockdown. Only 3/10 participants managed to pair the app/EMD up to the fourth visit, which was associated with improved ICS adherence (0.51, SD 0.07 to 0.86, SD 0.05). Adherence did not change in adolescents unable to pair the app/EMD. The intervention was acceptable to participants and parents/guardians. Exit interviews showed that participants welcomed reminders and incentives, though expressed frustration with app/EMD technological difficulties. Participants stated the intervention helped through reminding ICS doses, promoting self-monitoring and increasing motivation to take inhalers.
An intervention using electronic reminders and incentives through an app coupled with an EMD was feasible and acceptable to adolescents with asthma. A pilot randomised controlled trial is warranted to better estimate the effect size on adherence, with improved technical support for the EMD.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Early online date29 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Oct 2021


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