Mobile Tech to Improve Heart Care

The Veterans Administration’s Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Service is conducting a study on how to use mobile health technology more effectively to improve medication adherence for veterans with heart disease.

The goal for veterans is to improve medication adherence when diagnosed with coronary heart disease. The ongoing study (2016-2020) is examining how mobile health technology such as text messaging or using a mobile application compares to simply using a general education website. Included in the study are non-veteran female participants enrolled from one medical center so that both sexes are represented.

Focus groups are used to assess preferences for content and frequency of the use of text messaging to help promote medication adherence. Veterans with a history of coronary heart disease are going to help investigators determine the most patient-centered mobile app to promote medication adherence and then discuss any barriers related to using mobile apps.

So far, the focus group’s feedback on medication adherence shows:

  • Veterans understand that medication use is critical to their health.
  • Veterans have confidence in taking medications but sometimes the medication is not taken at the right time of day
  • Depression is common among study participants, but it is not known whether or not depression significantly impairs medication adherence


Feedback from the focus group on test messaging shows:

  • Veterans prefer shorter positive messages although the veterans were not as receptive to messages appearing to be designed to persuade or motivate as opposed to direct reminders or tips
  • Veterans were receptive to receiving short reminders and educational tips about exercise and healthy eating
  • Veterans were less receptive to messages under the topic of social support


The study so far has found that medication adherence available through the use of mobile apps may significantly lower morbidity and mortality among veterans with heart disease. Study findings may also apply to non-veterans with heart disease and other patients who require long term medication use.

Share Button