Can Automated Text Messaging Successfully Monitor Antibiotic Adherence for Urban Adolescents and Young Women Managed for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in the Outpatient Setting

*Corresponding author: Bria Rice, Jamie Perin, Steven Huettner, Arlene Butz, Hasiya E. Yusuf and Maria Trent

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original research


This study evaluates patient responsiveness to an automated text messaging system for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) self-care support, and measures the reliability of text-reported adherence.
Patients aged 13-25-years with mild to moderate PID were recruited from urban, academic outpatient settings. Enrolled patients received antibiotics and were randomized into a standard of care or intervention group. During a 14-day treatment period, participants in the intervention arm received a community-based nursing visit and daily text message medication reminders with evening prompts to report the number of doses taken.
Of the 97 participants randomized into the intervention arm, 91 (94%) were eligible for analysis. Most were African American and low income, with a mean age of 18.3 (SD=2.2) years. Participants responded to ~53% (SD=34%) of all dosage inquiry messages. Responsiveness attenuated at approximately 2.2% per day over the treatment period. Ninety-three percent (n=85) of the analyzed intervention arm returned for the two-week follow-up. Despite overall adherence and general responsiveness, text-reported and self-reported medication adherence were not well correlated (r=0.37, p<0.001). Conclusion Our findings show that text messaging is a feasible strategy for reaching urban adolescents being managed for complicated sexually transmitted infections in outpatient settings. However, patient responsiveness to self-care text messages do vary, limiting the adherence monitoring capacity of this technology. Given the number of unanswered text messages and incomplete text-reported adherence data, additional measures to assess adolescents’ adherence to PID medications are needed in clinical trials. Keywords Pelvic inflammatory disease; Sexually transmitted infections; Adolescents; Outpatient; Text messaging; Community health nursing.