Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Putting prevention in their pockets

23.08.2016

UB-developed smartphone app may help improve antiretroviral therapy adherence among people living with HIV

Would people living with HIV be willing to self-report on daily substance use and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence using a smartphone app?


This is a screen shot of DRUM app question asking participants whether they took their medication. The app was developed and tested by researchers at the University at Buffalo.

Credit: University at Buffalo

That was a question researchers from the University at Buffalo set out to answer in a recent study. They were pleased to find that participants not only found the app easy and convenient to use -- they were also willing to provide honest responses.

"Reporting was actually high - we had 95 percent compliance with daily report completion. A key finding of our study was the ability for people living with HIV to feel comfortable reporting on sensitive health behaviors," said Sarahmona Przybyla, the study's lead author and clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions.

A willingness to report the use of alcohol or drugs was significant because substance use is one of the most reliable predictors of poor adherence to ART, the researchers note.

Their findings, published this month in the journal AIDS Research and Treatment, were more surprising considering that the majority of the 26 study participants had never used a smartphone before. After some initial smartphone training from research staff, they completed their reports with ease.

Participants were recruited from two Buffalo-area clinics and were asked to use the app -- named Daily Reports of Using Medications, or DRUM -- to complete their reports, which took three to five minutes, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day for two weeks.

Every afternoon, the 26 study participants received a text message reminder asking them to fill out their report. If they missed that day's report, they were given the option to do a make-up when they logged into the app the next day.

Researchers were deliberate in their wording of the questions. "People living with HIV continue to be a stigmatized population, so we didn't want any of the questions we developed to draw attention to their disease. We never used 'HIV' or 'ART' - anything that would inadvertently out someone as having HIV," Przybyla said.

A sample medication question was, "Did you take your first dose?" A change in daily routine was the most commonly reported reason participants didn't take their medication, followed by simply forgetting. Use of alcohol or drugs was the third most common reason.

Participants who confirmed they had used alcohol or drugs in the past 24 hours were given a series of follow-up questions that asked why they used the substance and where they were when they used it, with a dropdown menu of answer choices.

Each participant was provided with a five-digit passcode to access the app, ensuring privacy and confidentiality. Data from the completed reports was sent in real time directly to UB's Research Institute on Addictions, which helped develop the app along with Przybyla.

In the future, the app could aid in users' decision to use alcohol since some participants in this study reported that it helped them understand exactly how much they were drinking.

And it helped users establish a pattern. "I think the surprising thing is how much the app and the text reminders helped the participants to develop a routine," said Rebecca Eliseo-Arras, a study co-author and senior research analyst at UB's Research Institute on Addictions. "For instance, some reported that the text message reminded them to do the report, but the report actually made them think about whether or not they took their medication and, if they didn't, that it prompted them to go take their medications."

Participants completed 347 out of 364 possible daily reports over the two-week span. They reported drinking alcohol on 51.6 percent and marijuana use on 35.4 percent of reporting days.

In follow-up interviews after the two weeks, researchers asked study members about their experience using the app. "Many said it was a piece of cake and that they actually looked forward to doing their daily reports," Przybyla said. "We also asked people where they were when they completed their reports. A lot of them said they were out and about. They never felt like they had to go hide in a bathroom to fill out the survey each day."

Przybyla said it's important to note that the average time since diagnosis among study participants was 17 years and that many of their friends and relatives were likely aware they had HIV. As a result, participants probably felt more comfortable completing the reports around others than someone who was more recently diagnosed and may not have been open about disclosing their disease status to others.

Three-quarters of the sample was male, and slightly more than half were African American. The average age was 48.

The app could help lead to quicker intervention in cases where a patient has missed a number of doses.

"Life expectancy has changed dramatically as a result of advances in pharmacotherapy, which is wonderful, but adherence is key. You can live a long, healthy life with HIV, but you have to take your meds," said Przybyla, who is interested in studying the role mobile technology can play in understanding health behaviors.

"Now that we have this data, we can reach out to people with HIV and say, 'We've noticed you've been using substances and that seems to be related to the fact that you've missed your doses -- what can we do to help you?' It's putting prevention in their pockets."

Media Contact

David Hill
davidhil@buffalo.edu
716-645-4651

 @UBNewsSource

http://www.buffalo.edu 

David Hill | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>