A systematic review of primary care-focused, self-reported medication adherence tools

Nathaniel M Rickles, Mary Mulrooney, Diana Sobieraj, Adrian V Hernandez, Laura L Manzey, Julie A Gouveia-Pisano, Kevin A Townsend, Heidi Luder, Joseph C Cappelleri, Carl J Possidente

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Clinician recognition of nonadherence is generally low. Tools that clinicians have used to assess medication adherence are self-reported adherence instruments that ask patients questions about their medication use experience. There is a need for more structured reviews that help clinicians comprehensively distinguish which tool might be most useful and valuable for their clinical setting and patient populations.

OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to (1) identify validated, self-reported medication adherence tools that are applicable to the primary care setting and (2) summarize selected features of the tools as an assessment of clinical feasibility and applicability.

METHODS: The investigators systematically reviewed MEDLINE via Ovid, Embase via Ovid, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and CINAHL from inception to December 1, 2020. Investigators independently screened 3394 citations, identifying 43 articles describing validation parameters for 25 unique adherence tools. After screening each tool, 17 tools met the inclusion criteria and were qualitatively summarized.

RESULTS: Findings highlight 25 various tool characteristics (i.e., descriptions, parameters and diseases, measures and validity comparators, and other information), which clinicians might consider when selecting a self-reported adherence tool with strong measurement validity that is practical to administer to patients. There was much variability about the nature and extent of adherence measurement. Considerable variation was noted in the objective measures used to correlate to the self-reported tools' measurements. There were wide ranges of correlation between self-reported and objective measures. Several included tools had relatively low to moderate criterion validities. Many manuscripts did not describe whether tools were associated with costs, had copyrights, and were available in other languages; how much time was required for patients to complete self-report tools; and whether patient input informed tool development.

CONCLUSION: There is a critical need to ensure that adherence tool developers establish a key list of tool characteristics to report to help clinicians and researchers make practical comparisons among tools.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA
Early online date20 Sep 2022
StatePublished - 2022


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