Patient reminder systems and asthma medication adherence: A systematic review

Nancy Tran, Janet M. Coffman, Kaharu Sumino, Michael D. Cabana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Objective: One of the most common reasons for medication non-adherence for asthma patients is forgetfulness. Daily medication reminder system interventions in the form of text messages, automated phone calls and audiovisual reminder devices can potentially address this problem. The aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of reminder systems on patient daily asthma medication adherence. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which assessed the effect of reminder systems on daily asthma medication adherence. We searched all English-language articles in Pub Med (MEDLINE), CINAHL, EMBASE, PsychINFO and the Cochrane Library through May 2013. We abstracted data on the year of study publication, location, inclusion and exclusion criteria, patient characteristics, reminder system characteristics, effect on patient adherence rate and other outcomes measured. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the characteristics and results of the studies. Results: Five RCTs and one pragmatic RCT were included in the analysis. Median follow-up time was 16 weeks. All of the six studies suggested that the reminder system intervention was associated with greater levels of participant asthma medication adherence compared to those participants in the control group. None of the studies documented a change in asthma-related quality of life or clinical asthma outcomes. Conclusion: All studies in our analysis suggest that reminder systems increase patient medication adherence, but none documented improved clinical outcomes. Further studies with longer intervention durations are needed to assess effects on clinical outcomes, as well as the sustainability of effects on patient adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-543
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Cellular phone
  • Electronic mail
  • Patient adherence
  • Reminder systems
  • Telemedicine
  • Telephone
  • Text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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