October 12, 2005
Johns Hopkins University Division of Infectious Disease researchers found that a pocket-sized device helps ensure that HIV patients with slightly impaired memory comply with their medication regimens.
The portable Disease Management Assistance System, nicknamed "Jerry" by users, gives electronic-voice reminders, flashes a light and tells patients the exact dosages and medications to take at a given time. DMAS is rechargeable and weighs approximately as much as a cell phone. It has computer programming to keep track of patients' compliance, and doctors can download and print reports to monitor patient adherence.
Fifty-eight patients completed the four-month study. Half were given Jerry and attended adherence-counseling sessions. The other half received only counseling. The investigators recruited patients with either normal memory or mild memory impairment. Both groups had better adherence with Jerry, but the memory-impaired participants showed greater improvement. There was not a significant variance between the normal-memory participant groups who had and did not have Jerry, researchers said. Subjects with Jerry took their medication 80 percent of the time; subjects without Jerry did so 65 percent of the time.
The study, "A Programmable Prompting Device Improves Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy," was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases (2005;41(6)875-882).
AIDS Weekly & Law