Wayne State University researcher receives grant to develop text messaging system to aid treatment of hypertension in African Americans
In recent years, cell phones have been used in many sophisticated ways to make daily life easier. Now, one Wayne State University researcher will find out whether hypertension management can be added to that list.
Lorraine Buis, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing in the College of Nursing and resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., received a $297,224 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop and test a text messaging system that will remind Detroit-area African Americans with uncontrolled hypertension to take their blood pressure medication.
“In medication management studies, we often focus on introducing patients to new devices such as wrist watches or pill bottles with alarms,” Buis said. “One of the things I find most exciting about this project is that we are leveraging a communication device that is already thoroughly integrated into people’s daily lives.”
High blood pressure is a major public health concern and the leading cause of cardiovascular disease worldwide. The problem is particularly onerous for African Americans, who are disproportionately more susceptible to high blood pressure than non-Hispanic white Americans. Poor adherence to prescribed medication regimens contribute to the difficulty in managing the condition.
“Across the board, medication adherence is dismal, with an estimated 50 percent of individuals with hypertension not taking their medicine as prescribed,” Buis said. “Our hope is to find a simple system that can help patients remember to take their blood pressure medicine. By improving medication adherence, we hope to see improvements in hypertension-related outcomes.”
Buis and collaborators will conduct focus groups with the study’s target population, obtaining feedback that will guide the development of a mobile phone text messaging system. The efficacy of the system will be assessed in a pilot test. The primary goal of the study is to determine whether participants have had a change in their medication adherence after one month. Secondary goals are to improve medication self-efficacy and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as achieve patient satisfaction with the system.
“The reasons behind poor medication adherence are complex and text message reminders are just one of many solutions,” Buis said. “Our hope is that for at least some patients, utilizing this familiar technology will be just what is needed to get their condition under control.”
Other WSU collaborators include Nancy Artinian, Ph.D., associate dean in the College of Nursing, Farshad Fotouhi, Ph.D., chair of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Loren Schwiebert, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Hossein Yarandi, Ph.D., professor of nursing in the College of Nursing.
# # #
Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information on research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.