Research Study Looks at Benefits of 3G Wireless Technology for Hypertensive Patients in Underserved Urban Communities
Results Explore Potential for Improved Health Outcomes and Medication
WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The George Washington University Medical Center, One Economy, Cricket Communications, VOCEL and Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, today announced that 3G wireless-enabled handsets and the Pill Phone mobile medication reminder application were well accepted among patients participating in the George Washington University and Wireless Reach Pill Phone Research Study. The announcement is part of a mHealth seminar hosted by the George Washington Center for Global Health and the Department of Emergency Medicine, which focuses on the use of wireless health technology to improve medication adherence.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, has been estimated to affect more than 65 million adults in the United States and poor adherence to blood pressure medications is a major cause for uncontrolled hypertension. When a blood pressure medication is not taken regularly, it can result in potentially serious complications, such as kidney disease, which is of particular concern in medically underserved populations. African Americans, for example, are two to four times more likely to have kidney disease than their white counterparts. Many patients who suffer from high blood pressure also have other conditions requiring additional medications, resulting in a potential drug regimen of up to ten pills a day.
With a grant from Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative, and contributions from One Economy, Cricket Communications and VOCEL, The George Washington University Medical Center designed, conducted and analyzed a seven-month research study to measure the efficacy of the Pill Phone application to improve medication adherence among hypertensive patients. The Pill Phone study was intended to show how wireless technology can engage patients, improve health outcomes and reduce health costs. Subjects included 50 Medicaid patients who were recruited from the internal medicine, renal/hypertension and cardiology clinics of The George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of Washington, D.C.’s population is African American.
“High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease, and Washington, D.C. has some of the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease in the nation,” said Dr. Richard Katz, director of the division of cardiology at The George Washington University Hospital. “The importance of the Pill Phone Research Study is that it offers a model for disease self-management that can be applied to at-risk communities.”
Each organization contributed their core competency to the study. One Economy Corporation, a global non-profit organization that leverages 21st century technology to improve the lives of underserved communities, assisted in patient recruitment, study design, execution and project management; VOCEL, a mobile health care application developer, provided the FDA-cleared Pill Phone application; and Cricket Wireless, a national wireless operator, supplied 3G-enabled handsets and wireless connectivity over its 3G EV-DO network for all project participants, including patients, care-givers and research team members.
Each patient received a 3G wireless handset pre-loaded with the Pill Phone application. The Pill Phone provides patients with visual and audible medication dosage reminders, tracking and storage of dosage records, image displays of prescription pills and access to real-time information about potential drug side effects and interactions. Patients were trained to use the Pill Phone application and educated about hypertension and the importance of medication adherence. Health care providers were able to use the application to remotely monitor patient adherence through a secure web site.
“This initiative just scratches the surface of the power of 21st century technology, as well as the role that mobile applications will have in improving health,” said Kelley Dunne, president and chief executive officer of One Economy Corporation. “One Economy believes it is important to meet people where they are in terms of technology. Developing mobile applications with a purpose helps us meet the needs of a growing population who rely on mobile phones to access information.”
“The Pill Phone application empowers patients to participate in their own disease management,” said Carl Washburn, CEO of VOCEL. “As the company who developed the FDA-approved Pill Phone application, we were pleased to bring the benefits of this application to the high-risk patients who need it most.”
“Wireless technology is at the forefront of changing the way we live, and this application provides strong evidence of the benefits wireless can provide,” said Doug Hutcheson, president and CEO of Cricket. “Cricket is pleased to have contributed to the study with powerful 3G technologies that can help improve people’s lives.”
The study found:
- Patients had a high level of acceptance and sustained use of the Pill Phone application
- Participants were generally satisfied with the medication reminder software, and
- There was a trend toward increased prescription refill rates with the use of the Pill Phone application and a decrease after the application was discontinued.
“3G wireless technologies offer new opportunities to communicate with patients and the potential to improve health outcomes,” said Dean Brenner, vice president of government affairs for Qualcomm. “The current epidemic of chronic illnesses, such as hypertension, underscores the urgent need for innovative, technology-supported interventions to fight and prevent these diseases.”
About Qualcomm and its Wireless Reach Initiative
Qualcomm believes access to advanced wireless voice and data services improves people’s lives. Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative supports programs and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to underserved communities globally. By working with partners, Wireless Reach projects create new ways for people to communicate, learn, access health care, sustain the environment and reach global markets. For more information, please visit www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is a world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. For 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of wireless communications, connecting people more closely to information, entertainment and each other. Today, Qualcomm technologies are powering the convergence of mobile communications and consumer electronics, making wireless devices and services more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. For more information, visit Qualcomm around the Web:
About The George Washington University Medical Center
The George Washington University Medical Center is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary academic health center that has consistently provided high-quality medical care in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1824. The Medical Center comprises the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the 11th oldest medical school in the country; the School of Public Health and Health Services, the only such school in the nation’s capital; GW School of Nursing; GW Hospital, and The GW Medical Faculty Associates. For more information on GWUMC, visit www.gwumc.edu.
Qualcomm is a registered trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. Wireless Reach is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.