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Advances in Patient Adherence to Medical Treatment Regimens: The Emerging Role of Technology in Adherence Monitoring and Management


Correspondence address: Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. Email:


Adherence is a term used to describe the extent to which an individual's behavior coincides with health-related instructions or recommendations given by a healthcare provider in the context of a specific disease or disorder. Despite significant advances in biomedical science related to the treatment of disease, the problem of nonadherence remains pervasive and may be aptly described as a global public health concern. The recent proliferation of telemedicine coupled with the ubiquity of personal computers, mobile phones, and other wireless communication devices have, in part, led to the development and implementation of a variety of technology-based methods used to assess, monitor, and manage adherence. As the chronic illness burden continues to grow, these methods may offer solutions to some of the limitations of traditional means particularly for conditions requiring complex self-management and lifestyle adjustment. In this article, we briefly review recent advances in adherence monitoring and management including m-health, home telemonitoring systems, web-based support (i.e., self-management websites and virtual support groups), and patient portals and personal health records before concluding with a brief account of some exciting new technologies under development in the context of patient adherence.