Integrative Review of Mobile Phone Contacts and Medication Adherence in Severe Mental Illness

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BACKGROUND: Poor medication adherence is a significant problem in individuals with severe mental illness (SMI). About 50% of people with SMI become nonadherent to treatment in the first month following discharge from the hospital. OBJECTIVE: This study examined literature in the past decade (2006-2016) on the use of mobile phone contacts in individuals with SMI to improve medication adherence post hospital discharge. DESIGN: This integrative review used the search terms texting, text messaging, SMS, cell/mobile phone, medication adherence, medication compliance, and mental illness. Databases (CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus) and manual searching of reference lists were done. The main inclusion criteria were the use of mobile phone contacts on medication adherence in individuals with SMI. Adults 18 years and older, studies conducted from 2006 to 2016, and studies conducted in English were also criteria for inclusion. Only five studies met criteria for inclusion. RESULTS: Outcomes from the review showed that mobile phone contacts have been used to improve medication adherence in individuals with SMI and able to provide the four types of social support (instrumental, informational, emotional, and, appraisal). When phone contacts especially text messaging was used as an adjunct to other interventions, it yielded better medication adherence than when used alone. However, results on medication adherence rates were mixed in participants on both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric medications. CONCLUSION: Although mobile phone contacts are a promising tool to enhance medication adherence after hospital discharge, its effectiveness to increase medication adherence in this population remains inconclusive.

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