There has been quite a few studies showing how effective medication reminders are when it comes to improving adherence. “The effectiveness of interventions using electronic reminders to improve adherence to chronic medication: a systematic review of the literature“, is one of those articles that provides a nice review of the literature. The article was published in September 2012 and appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
The authors have selected 13 relevant studies from the literature and reported the details on the effectiveness of reminders to improve adherence. The full article is available here for free.
Out of the 13 studies, 4 studies evaluated short message service (SMS) reminders, 7 audiovisual reminders, and 2 pager messages. Audiovisual reminders applies to any (electronic) device that uses some kind of audible or visual (or both) alert as the reminder. Typically these are telephone calls, any type of alarm, or even more sophisticated electronic devices. Memo24 falls in the category of audiovisual reminders since it is indeed a telephone medication reminder service. 7 studies showed significant positive effects on medication adherence, and in particular SMS reminders had a very good score.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that medication reminders have proved to be effective in improving adherence; however there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. One has to try and find out the best solution that fits his/her needs. Although SMS reminders were found to be very efficient in the studies above, their use remains questionable in case of an elderly person who is not (or is not anymore) familiar with such technology (i.e. difficulty in hearing the incoming message beep, difficulty in handling the mobile phone itself and in reading the message, etc.). It comes as no surprise that loud audible reminders, such as alarms and telephone reminder calls, are indeed the most effective reminder solution for this group of people.