Assessing Parents’ Needs in Using Phone Applications to Improve Medication Adherence in an Outpatient Pediatric Oncology Clinic
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BACKGROUND: Poor adherence in pediatric oncology leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Currently used medication reminder aids have shown little to no benefit in improving adherence. Phone applications (apps) have demonstrated improved adherence in recent studies involving the adult and pediatric patients. At this time, no pediatric oncology center is recommending a particular phone app. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the proportion of parents of pediatric oncology patients interested in using a phone app for medication reminders and desired features. METHODS: In this single-center observational trial, 45 questionnaires were completed by parents accompanying their child at a pediatric oncology center. See Supplemental Digital Content 1 (http://links.lww.com/JPHO/A327) for a copy of the questionnaire. Participants had a child on active cancer treatment and were able to read and write English. Primary outcomes included a number of parents currently using a phone app, the number of parents interested in using a phone app, main reasons for not using a phone app and desired phone app features. RESULTS: Overall, 95.6% of parents had never used a phone app to aid in medication adherence. Over 85% of these parents were highly interested in using a phone app, but most were not aware of available phone apps to use (57.1%). Desired features included: refill notifications, tracking doses administered, personalizable medication schedule, free of charge, no advertisements, ability to input special instructions, use on multiple devices, unique alarms, tracking child's results, and privacy protection. CONCLUSIONS: A majority of parents at an outpatient pediatric oncology clinic were interested in using a phone app to assist in medication adherence but were unaware of an available phone app. An ideal criteria list was created with 10 desired features to evaluate available phone apps that may be recommended for this population. Further studies are needed to evaluate if phone apps recommended by this tool improve adherence.
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