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Targeted Intervention to Improve Medication Adherence in Cognitively Impaired Patients With HF (TARGET) (TARGET)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: May 17, 2012
Last updated: October 7, 2015
Last verified: October 2015
Trialing an automated medication dispensing device (AMDD) to improve medication adherence in patients with heart failure.

Condition Intervention
Heart Failure Device: Automated Medication Dispensing Device

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Targeted Intervention to Improve Medication Adherence in Cognitively Impaired Patients With Heart Failure

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Feasibility of AMDD to Improve Medication Adherence Via Completion Rate [ Time Frame: 4 months ]
    Rate that patient population completed set-up of AMDD was evaluated quantitatively.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Efficacy of AMDD to Improve Medication Adherence [ Time Frame: 30-day pill count before the use of AMDD and with AMDD ]
    Change in medication adherence (proportion of pills taken of prescribed, as measured by pillcount) after the implementation of the AMDD

Enrollment: 45
Study Start Date: October 2012
Study Completion Date: February 2014
Primary Completion Date: February 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Automated Medication Dispensing Device
Subjects with <88% medication adherence, determined by 30-day pillcount, and with cognitive impairment (determined by Saint Louis University Mental Status score) proceeded to AMDD portion of study.
Device: Automated Medication Dispensing Device
All patients had a pre-filled medication dispensing machine set up at their homes, filled by home health nurses once a month. Safety phone call was made by the AMDD company if doses were missed.
Other Name: AMDD

Detailed Description:


Medication adherence [MA] is a complex issue depending on both patient and healthcare factors. Non-adherence due to patient-dependent factors is common; analyses of large broad-based clinical trials in the general population demonstrate that 20-30% of study medication doses may be missed. In community-dwelling HF patients with polypharmacy this percentage is likely even higher. One of the factors in poor adherence in elderly non-HF patients has been shown to be cognitive impairment [CI]. Non-adherence to medical regimen is one factor that is associated with worse outcomes in patients with HF, including readmissions. Measures that improve MA are also likely to improve outcomes.


We evaluated a novel intervention incorporating new technology with the goal of improving adherence in patients with HF and CI. Specific objectives of the study were (1) to assess the feasibility of using the Automated Medication Dispensing Device (AMDD) in veterans with HF and CI by measuring patient qualifying rate, consent rate, user rate, patient-level response rate, medication-level response rate, and success rate, (2) to calculate the improvement of MA based on pill counts before and after the introduction of the AMDD, and (3) qualitatively describe patient satisfaction with the AMDD and the reasons for not using the AMDD.


This pilot was designed as a feasibility study testing an intervention using a commercially available, off the shelf Automated Medication Dispensing Device (AMDD) with subjects serving as their own controls. The study was conducted at the VALLHS, Loma Linda, CA which serves a population of 246,000 veterans. The study planned to enroll 50 patients with HF and CI (defined as SLUMS score of <27 in a person with high school education or <25 in a person with less than high school education) from the outpatient HF clinic. Baseline adherence to prescribed medications was measured by an initial 30-day pill count (month 1). Subjects with baseline adherence <88% were given the AMDD to use for 90 days (one month to familiarize the study subjects with the device, two months to collect outcome data). This dispenser was pre-filled by home health nurses once a month; the dispenser is equipped with an alarm mechanism that alerts the patient to take the medications; when the patient pushes the button on the device, it will dispense the medications. 30-day pill counts were performed while patients were using the AMDD on months 3 and 4. The study was powered to detect the success rate of the AMDD, defined as both patient acceptance and a clinical response to the AMDD.


Complete. This project was opened for recruitment as of July 1, 2012. The study is now closed for recruitment and all enrolled patients have completed the intervention. Manuscript outlining the findings of this study and discussing the available interventions to improve medication adherence is in progress.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with established diagnosis of clinical heart failure
  • English-speaking
  • Able to provide informed consent
  • Able to participate in cognitive function testing
  • Age over 18

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Life expectancy < 6 months
  • Documented dementia requiring a caregiver
  • inability to set up the AMDD at the patient's home due to technical limitations
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01602731

United States, California
VA Medical Center, Loma Linda
Loma Linda, California, United States, 92357
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: Helme Silvet, MD VA Medical Center, Loma Linda
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT01602731     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: RRP 12-198
Study First Received: May 17, 2012
Results First Received: April 22, 2015
Last Updated: October 7, 2015

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
medication adherence

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Heart Failure
Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases processed this record on September 21, 2017