Treatment adherence is a ubiquitous challenge in medicine, particularly in the adolescent population with chronic disorders. Web-based adherence interventions may be particularly useful in adolescents, due to their familiarity with and frequent use of the Internet.
To review web-based interventions used to improve adherence to medication in adolescent patients with chronic disorders.
A PubMed search was performed for full-text, English, clinical trials in adolescents using keywords "adherence" or "compliance", "Internet" or "web", and "treatment" from inception until November 2014. Articles were selected if they involved using the Internet to provide support to adolescents to help improve their adherence to treatment, excluding those focused on solely providing medical services through the Internet and articles focusing on preventative care, rather than treatment of an illness.
Fourteen studies were found concentrating on chronic adolescent disorders. Interventions included online surveys, physician chat lines, monitoring programs, and interactive programs. All interventions experienced either greater improvement in adherence or another disease control measure or no statistically significant difference compared with the control group (in-clinic visits).
Few clinical trials studying web-based interventions to improve adherence in adolescents were found. Due to not having one standard outcome measured in all of the studies, it was also difficult comparing the effectiveness of the interventions.
Web-based interventions play a role in improving adherence in adolescents with chronic disorders by being more time saving and cost effective compared with in-clinic visits. Further research focusing on adherence interventions using the Internet is necessary to determine the ideal ways of utilizing the Internet to improve adherence in adolescents with chronic disorders.