Can Smartwatches Improve Anticoagulation Therapy Adherence Among Patients With AFib?

Smartwatches that send medication reminders can significantly improve adherence to long-term oral anticoagulation therapy among patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a new study released during the Heart Rhythm Society 2020 Science Online meeting.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers randomly assigned 160 patients with AF who had been receiving long-term oral anticoagulation therapy to either the smartwatch reminder group or the standard care group. The groups had similar demographics, CHA2DS2-VASc scores, HAS-BLED scores, comorbidities, and combined medications.

While both groups received regular follow-up calls and were scheduled for outpatient visits, those in the smartwatch group also had daily intake reminders, an intake error (including delayed or missed doses) alarm, and an immediate telephone feedback function to ensure they adhered to their oral anticoagulation therapy.

Adherence to the therapy was measured via the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8)—a self-reported adherence measure—and the proportion of days covered (PDC)—an objective measure.

Patients with an MMAS-8 of 8 or who had a PDC cutoff of 80% or more were considered to have had adhered to their treatment.

In the first month, 66.3% of those who had followed standard care had an MMAS-8 score of 8. That proportion decreased to 40% in the ninth month. Meanwhile, among those in the smartwatch reminder group, the proportion of patients with an MMAS-8 score of 8 increased from 62.5% in the first month to 77.8% in the ninth month.

Results for PDC were similar. While the proportion of patients with a PDC of 80% or more decreased from 75% in the first month to 30% in the ninth month among those who followed standard care, the proportion of patients in the smart watch group who had a PDC of 80% or more remained at over 90% over the 9 months.

—Colleen Murphy


Shi Z, Shi L, Wang Y, Zeng L, Tian Y, Liu X. D-LBCT01-05 — Smart watches significantly improve adherence to oral anticoagulation therapy among patients with atrial fibrillation. Paper presented at: Heart Rhythm Society 2020 Online; May 7-8, 2020; Virtual. Accessed May 8, 2020.