Impact of interactive voice response technology on primary adherence to bisphosphonate therapy: a randomized controlled trial

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Summary: Osteoporosis (weak bones) is a disorder that has high morbidity, mortality, and healthcare utilization. Effective treatment is available for this disorder, but many patients choose not to start therapy. This is the first study showing an intervention that increases the initiation rates to medications for osteoporosis. Introduction: One out of six patients prescribed an oral bisphosphonate does not initiate therapy, a phenomenon known as primary non-adherence. Reasons for bisphosphonate primary non-adherence have been identified, but not interventions that positively impact primary adherence rates. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of interactive voice response technology to improve oral bisphosphonate primary adherence. Methods: This was a prospective, randomized controlled trial conducted in January–December 2014 at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, an integrated healthcare system. Adults with a new oral bisphosphonate prescription for osteoporosis or osteopenia which was not purchased within 14–20 days of being ordered were included. There were 127 and 118 patients in the intervention group and control groups, respectively. The intervention group received an interactive voice response phone call followed by a letter 1 week later if primary non-adherence continued, whereas the control group did not receive any outreach. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who purchased their oral bisphosphonate within 25 days of randomization. Results: There were 62/127 (48.8 %) intervention patients and 36/118 (30.5 %) control patients who purchased their bisphosphonate prescription within 25 days of randomization (OR = 2.17, 95 % CI 1.29–3.67). When adjusted for age, sex, history of bone mineral density scan and fracture, the odds ratio for intervention versus control group was 2.3 (95 % CI 1.34–3.94). Conclusion: An interactive voice response phone call and follow-up letter significantly improved primary adherence to oral bisphosphonate therapy. Such an intervention could be considered for improving primary adherence rates to other medication classes.

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