About our research

There are more than 11 million people in England with hypertension (HBP; high blood pressure) and HBP is often accompanied with diabetes type 2 (DT2) and other health conditions. Taking medication as prescribed can significantly prevent risks, complications and premature death associated with these conditions. However, many people with HBP or comorbidities do not take their medication as prescribed. GPs and nurses can support patients in taking their medication, but they have limited time and their time is expensive. There is therefore a need for low-cost interventions that help patients to take their tablets as prescribed. A promising approach is to use digital interventions such as text messaging, smartphone ‘apps’, and internet-based interventions that are accessible from smartphones. Such interventions have several advantages: they can be fully automated; they can provide information that is highly tailored to the individual; they can be interactive; they can be available at any time; they can deliver support in real time; the content can be easily updated; and once they have been developed, they are relatively inexpensive to deliver.

We are proposing that a SMS/app (digital) based intervention could be used in combination with a brief face-to-face intervention from the practitioners. Practitioners would a) provide brief advice and support to patients related to medication adherence and b) ‘signpost’ them to a digital intervention which would support them to take their medicines between visits to the practice. We will test whether this two-part intervention is feasible and acceptable to patients and practitioners. Control group participants receive usual care.

The intervention could provide a cost-effective way of supporting medication adherence in a large number of people. We will test the intervention in 100 people with hypertension from six general practices. We want to find out whether the intervention is feasible and acceptable to these patients and whether it may help them to take their tablets as prescribed. If the results are encouraging, we plan to test the effectiveness of the intervention in a large randomised controlled trial.