One of the challenges asthma patients face is medication compliance, as many require long-term or even lifelong treatment and maintenance. Oftentimes, these medications would successfully induce remission, which would prompt patients to skip their dose and eventually trigger an asthma attack. As with any dispensed medication, pharmacists are obligated to review the medication with the patient, and encourage or ensure compliance to treatment.
A study, titled, “Empowering pharmacists in asthma management through interactive SMS (EmPhAsIS)” is now open for enrollment, which is designed to leverage mobile health (mHealth) technology to enforce better medication compliance in patients with asthma. It is a pragmatic pharmacy-based, cluster, randomized controlled trial that will involved 12 months of intervention and follow-up.
Patients with asthma who are at least 14 years old, without sensory impairment, and can communicate in English are eligible to participate in the trial if they meet the following criteria:
- If they fill a (incident or prevalent) prescription for inhaled corticosteroids (either monotherapy or in combination inhaler with long-acting beta-agonists),
- Possesses a cell-phone with ability to send/receive text messages
- Resides in British Columbia, Canada and planning to reside in BC for the next 12 months
- Registered with the medical services plan (MSP, the provincial insure of medically-required services) in the past 12 months, with the intention to remain registered for the next 12 months
- Designated pharmacy being the main drugstore for patient
- Not participating in another interventional study
- Gives consent to participate in the study.
EmPhAsIS interventions will include patient education, SMS-based assessment of compliance, and follow-up with noncompliant patients by local pharmacists. The study will note adherence to inhaled corticosteroids determined by the medication possession ration, and the ratio of the days of medication supplied to days in a given time interval. Designated pharmacies do not have an inclusion or exclusion criteria.
Additionally, EmPhAsIS will note secondary outcomes such as symptom control, quality of life, asthma-related hospital visits and admissions, and the need for reliever medications within the follow-up period. Cost-effectiveness of these interventions will also be examined using a probabilistic decision-analytic model from a societal perspective, compared with standard pharmacy care over a 10-year time frame.
Those interested to learn more about this ongoing trial, and how to participate, may contact Nicole Tsao, MSc through 604-827-1567 or