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Principal Investigator
Katerina Kassavou

1 September 2016 to 31 March 2017

Project No: 293

Funding round: FR 11

In England, there are 8 million people with hypertension (high blood pressure). Treatment for high blood pressure usually consists of one or more blood pressure lowering medicines, known as antihypertensives. Taking medication as prescribed can significantly reduce risks, complications and early deaths associated with these conditions. However, many people with hypertension do not take their medication as prescribed. This reduces the effectiveness of their treatment. It also means that a lot of medicines are wasted, which costs the NHS several hundred million pounds a year.

Nurses and doctors in primary care can support patients to take their medication as prescribed but have limited time. One promising approach is to use automated interventions such as “interactive voice response” (IVR) messages sent to the patient’s phone. This could be used to support patients to take their medications between their visits to the practice. Our review found that IVR-based interventions (all conducted in the USA) can be effective. To explore the acceptability of IVR, we carried out face-to-face interviews with 20 patients and five nurses from local practices. Patients were enthusiastic about the idea, and nurses felt that it could provide useful support to patients between consultations. Both groups made helpful suggestions for intervention content.

Building on these studies, we will develop a tailored IVR intervention for people with hypertension and ask 20 patients to try it out for 4 weeks. At the end of the intervention we will interview patients about their views on the intervention. We will ask patients to complete a questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of the intervention to assess their experience. The findings will help us to improve the intervention and extend it from 4 weeks to 12 weeks. We will apply for more funding to test the intervention in a bigger study.

Amount awarded: £48,257