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PLoS One. 2015 Jan 28;10(1):e0116980. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116980. eCollection 2015.

Demographic and health related data of users of a mobile application to support drug adherence is associated with usage duration and intensity.

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Department of Nephrology, University Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany; Institute for Drug Safety, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.
Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics of RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering, Dortmund, Germany.
Institute for Drug Safety, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.
Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, New York City, New York, United States of America; Marketing Department, Business School, Ono Academic College, Kiryat Ono, Israel.
Department of Nephrology, University Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.
Peter L. Reichertz Institute for Medical Informatics (OE8420), University of Braunschweig-Institute of Technology and Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.



A wealth of mobile applications are designed to support users in their drug intake. When developing software for patients, it is important to understand the differences between individuals who have, who will or who might never adopt mobile interventions. This study analyzes demographic and health-related factors associated with real-life "longer usage" and the "usage-intensity per day" of the mobile application "Medication Plan".


Between 2010-2012, the mobile application "Medication Plan" could be downloaded free of charge from the Apple-App-Store. It was aimed at supporting the regular and correct intake of medication. Demographic and health-related data were collected via an online questionnaire. This study analyzed captured data.


App-related activities of 1799 users (1708 complete data sets) were recorded. 69% (1183/1708) applied "Medication Plan" for more than a day. 74% were male (872/1183), the median age 45 years. Variance analysis showed a significant effect of the users' age with respect to duration of usage (p = 0.025). While the mean duration of use was only 23.3 days for users younger than 21 years, for older users, there was a substantial increase over all age cohorts up to users of 60 years and above (103.9 days). Sex and educational status had no effect. "Daily usage intensity" was directly associated with an increasing number of prescribed medications and increased from an average of 1.87 uses per day and 1 drug per day to on average 3.71 uses per day for users stating to be taking more than 7 different drugs a day (p<0.001). Demographic predictors (sex, age and educational attainment) did not affect usage intensity.


Users aged 60+ as well as those with complicated therapeutic drug regimens relied on the service we provided for more than three months on average. Mobile applications may be a promising approach to support the treatment of patients with chronic conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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