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Patient and practitioner views on a combined face-to-face and digital intervention to support medication adherence in hypertension: a qualitative study within primary care.

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Van Emmenis, Miranda  ORCID logo
Jamison, James 
Kassavou, Aikaterini  ORCID logo
Hardeman, Wendy 


OBJECTIVES: To explore patients' and healthcare practitioners' (HCPs) views about non-adherence to hypertension medication and potential content of a combined very brief face-to-face discussion (VBI) and digital intervention (DI). METHODS: A qualitative study (N=31): interviews with patients with hypertension (n=6) and HCPs (n=11) and four focus groups with patients with hypertension (n=14). Participants were recruited through general practices in Eastern England and London. Topic guides explored reasons for medication non-adherence and attitudes towards a potential intervention to support adherence. Stimuli to facilitate discussion included example SMS messages and smartphone app features, including mobile sensing. Analysis was informed methodologically by the constant comparative approach and theoretically by perceptions and practicalities approach. RESULTS: Participants' overarching explanations for non-adherence were non-intentional (forgetting) and intentional (concerns about side effects, reluctance to medicate). These underpinned their views on intervention components: messages that targeted forgetting medication or obtaining prescriptions were considered more useful than messages providing information on consequences of non-adherence. Tailoring the DI to the individuals' needs, regarding timing and number of messages, was considered important for user engagement. Patients wanted control over the DI and information about data use associated with any location sensing. While the DI was considered limited in its potential to address intentional non-adherence, HCPs saw the potential for a VBI in addressing this gap, if conducted in a non-judgemental manner. Incorporating a VBI into routine primary care was considered feasible, provided it complemented existing GP practice software and HCPs received sufficient training. CONCLUSIONS: A combined VBI-DI can potentially address intentional and non-intentional reasons for non-adherence to hypertension medication. For optimal engagement, recommendations from this work include a VBI conducted in a non-judgmental manner and focusing on non-intentional factors, followed by a DI that is easy-to-use, highly tailored and with provision of data privacy details about any sensing technology used.



hypertension, primary care, public health, qualitative research, Humans, Hypertension, Medication Adherence, Mobile Applications, Primary Health Care, Qualitative Research

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BMJ Open

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National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)) (RP-PG-0615-20013)