Designing a mobile phone-based intervention to promote adherence to antiretroviral therapy in South India.

Department of Pediatrics, St John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India.
AIDS and Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.49). 06/2010; 14(3):716-20. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-009-9658-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Integration of mobile phone technology into HIV care holds potential, particularly in resource-constrained settings. Clinic attendees in urban and rural South India were surveyed to ascertain usage of mobile phones and perceptions of their use as an adherence aid. Mobile phone ownership was high at 73%; 26% reported shared ownership. A high proportion (66%) reported using phones to call their healthcare provider. There was interest in weekly telephonic automated voice reminders to facilitate adherence. Loss of privacy was not considered a deterrent. The study presents important considerations in the design of a mobile phone-based adherence intervention in India.

  • The Lancet Psychiatry 08/2014; 1(5). DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70261-5
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Given the ubiquity of mobile phones, their use to support healthcare in the Indian context is inevitable. It is however necessary to assess end-user perceptions regarding mobile health interventions especially in the rural Indian context prior to its use in healthcare. This would contextualize the use of mobile phone communication for health to 70% of the country's population that resides in rural India. Objectives: To explore the acceptability of delivering healthcare interventions through mobile phones among users in a village in rural Bangalore. Methods: This was an exploratory study of 488 mobile phone users, residing in a village, near Bangalore city, Karnataka, South India. A pretested, translated, interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain data on mobile phone usage patterns and acceptability of the mobile phone, as a tool for health-related communication. The data is described using basic statistical measures. Results: The primary use of mobile phones was to make or receive phone calls (100%). Text messaging (SMS) was used by only 70 (14%) of the respondents. Most of the respondents, 484 (99%), were willing to receive health-related information on their mobile phones and did not consider receiving such information, an intrusion into their personal life. While receiving reminders for drug adherence was acceptable to most 479 (98%) of our respondents, 424 (89%) preferred voice calls alone to other forms of communication. Nearly all were willing to use their mobile phones to communicate with health personnel in emergencies and 367 (75%) were willing to consult a doctor via the phone in an acute illness. Factors such as sex, English literacy, employment status, and presence of chronic disease affected preferences regarding mode and content of communication. Conclusion: The mobile phone, as a tool for receiving health information and supporting healthcare through mHealth interventions was acceptable in the rural Indian context.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e104895. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104895 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART) is critical to maintaining health and good clinical outcomes in people living with HIV/AIDS. To address poor treatment adherence, low-cost interventions using mobile communication technology are being studied. While there are some studies that show an effect of mobile phone reminders on adherence to ART, none has reported on the costs of such reminders for national AIDS programmes. This paper aims to study the costs of mobile phone reminder strategies (mHealth interventions) to support adherence in the context of India's National AIDS Control Program (NACP). Methods The study was undertaken at two tertiary level teaching hospitals that implement the NACP in Karnataka state, South India. Costs for a mobile phone reminder application to support adherence, implemented at these sites (i.e. weekly calls, messages or both) were studied. Costs were collected based on the concept of avoidable costs specific to the application. The costs that were assessed were one-time costs and recurrent costs that included fixed and variable costs. A sequential procedure for costing was used. Costs were calculated at national-programme level, individual ART-centre level and individual patient level from the NACP's perspective. The assessed costs were pooled to obtain an annual cost per patient. The type of application, number of ART centres and number of patients on ART were varied in a sensitivity analysis of costs. Results The Indian NACP would incur a cost of between 79 and 110 INR (USD 1.27–1.77) per patient per year, based on the type of reminder, the number of patients on ART and the number of functioning ART centres. The total programme costs for a scale-up of the mHealth intervention to reach the one million patients expected to be on treatment by 2017 is estimated to be 0.36% of the total five-year national-programme budget. Conclusions The cost of the mHealth intervention for ART-adherence support in the context of the Indian NACP is low and is facilitated by the low cost of mobile communication in the country. Extending the use of mobile communication applications beyond adherence support under the national programme could be done relatively inexpensively.
    Journal of the International AIDS Society 09/2014; 17(1):19036. DOI:10.7448/IAS.17.1.19036 · 4.21 Impact Factor