How health care professionals evaluate a digital intervention to improve medication adherence

Qualitative exploratory study

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Background: Medication nonadherence poses a serious and a hard-to-tackle problem for many chronic diseases. Electronic health (eHealth) apps that foster patient engagement and shared decision making (SDM) may be a novel approach to improve medication adherence.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the perspective of health care professionals regarding a newly developed digital app aimed to improve medication adherence. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) was chosen as a case example.

Methods: A Web-based prototype of the eHealth app—MIK—was codesigned with patients and health care professionals. After user tests with patients, we performed semistructured interviews and user tests with 12 physicians from 6 different hospitals to examine how the functionalities offered by MIK could assist physicians in their consultation and how they could be integrated into daily clinical practice. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to identify themes that covered the physicians’ evaluations.

Results: On the basis of the interview data, 3 themes were identified, which were (1) perceived impact on patient-physician collaboration; (2) perceived impact on the patient’s understanding and self-management regarding medication adherence; and (3) perceived impact on clinical decisions and workflow.

Conclusions: The eHealth app MIK seems to have the potential to improve the consultation between the patient and the physician in terms of collaboration and patient engagement. The impact of eHealth apps based on the concept of SDM for improving medication-taking behavior and clinical outcomes is yet to be evaluated. Insights will be useful for further development of eHealth apps aimed at improving self-management by means of patient engagement and SDM.