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Original Research

Expert Consensus Survey on Medication Adherence in Psychiatric Patients and Use of a Digital Medicine System

Ainslie Hatch, DClinPsych, PhD; John P. Docherty, MD; Daniel Carpenter, PhD; Ruth Ross, MA; and Peter J. Weiden, MD

Published: August 23, 2017

Article Abstract

Background: There is an unmet need to objectively assess adherence problems that are a common cause of unexplained or unexpected suboptimal outcome. A digital medicine system (DMS) has been developed to address this need in patients with serious mental illness.

Objective: To conduct a quantitative expert consensus survey to (1) assess relative importance of causes of suboptimal outcomes, (2) examine modalities used to assess adherence, (3) provide guidance on when and how to use the DMS in clinical practice once available, and (4) suggest interventions for specific reasons for nonadherence.

Methods: A panel of 58 experts in psychiatry completed a 23-question survey (October 13 through December 23, 2013) and rated their responses on a 9-point Likert scale. A χ2 test of score distributions was used to determine consensus (P < .05).

Results: The panel rated adherence as the most important factor in suboptimal outcomes and yet the least likely to be assessed accurately. All predefined uses of the DMS received high mean first-line ratings ( 7.4). The experts recognized the utility of the DMS in managing adherence problems, identified clinical situations appropriate for DMS, and assessed potential benefits and challenges of this technology. Consensus was reached on first-line interventions for 10 of 11 reasons for nonadherence.

Conclusions: The results provide a guide to clinicians on the evaluation of suboptimal outcomes, when and how to use the DMS, and the most appropriate interventions to address detected adherence problems.

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