A multilevel mHealth intervention boosts adherence to hydroxyurea in individuals with sickle cell disease

Sickle Cell Disease Implementation Consortium, Allison King, Ana Amelia Baumann Walker, Lisa M. Klesges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hydroxyurea reduces sickle cell disease (SCD) complications, but medication adherence is low. We tested 2 mobile health (mHealth) interventions targeting determinants of low adherence among patients (InCharge Health) and low prescribing among providers (HU Toolbox) in a multicenter, non-randomized trial of individuals with SCD ages 15-45. We compared the percentage of days covered (PDC), labs, healthcare utilization, and self-reported pain over 24 weeks of intervention and 12 weeks post-study with a 24-week preintervention interval. We enrolled 293 patients (51% male; median age 27.5 years, 86.8% HbSS/HbSβ0-thalassemia). The mean change in PDC among 235 evaluable subjects increased (39.7% to 56.0%; P < 0.001) and sustained (39.7% to 51.4%, P < 0.001). Mean HbF increased (10.95% to 12.78%; P = 0.03). Self-reported pain frequency reduced (3.54 to 3.35 events/year; P = 0.041). InCharge Health was used ≥1 day by 199 of 235 participants (84.7% implementation; median usage: 17% study days; IQR: 4.8-45.8%). For individuals with ≥1 baseline admission for pain, admissions per 24 weeks declined from baseline through 24 weeks (1.97 to 1.48 events/patient, P = 0.0045) and weeks 25-36 (1.25 events/patient, P = 0.0015). PDC increased with app use (P < 0.001), with the greatest effect in those with private insurance (P = 0.0078), older subjects (P = 0.033), and those with lower pain interference (P = 0.0012). Of the 89 providers (49 hematologists, 36 advanced care providers, 4 unreported), only 11.2% used HU Toolbox ≥1/month on average. This use did not affect change in PDC. Tailoring mHealth solutions to address barriers to hydroxyurea adherence can potentially improve adherence and provide clinical benefits. A definitive randomized study is warranted. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT04080167.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7190-7201
Number of pages12
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 12 2023


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