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Self-management of Chronic Conditions: Adherence, behavior, and cognition

Posted Mar. 16, 2012
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The collaborative research of Joel Hughes and John Gunstad, both faculty members in the Department of Psychology, addresses issues of how cognitive functioning relates to self-management behaviors such as medication adherence among those with chronic conditions. Nearly half of all Americans are affected by chronic conditions and many, particularly older adults, are challenged in complying with the medication regimen necessary to manage their conditions themselves.  The failure to take medication as prescribed compounds health problems and contributes $290 billion annually in healthcare costs. Research conducted by Hughes and Gunstad is supported by the National Institutes of Health through multiple major active awards collectively totaling to approximately $5 million in funding. Their most recent work in this area includes collaboration on a project led by Anthony Sterns, Visiting Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at KSU and Chief Executive Officer of iRxReminder LLC, to further develop a smartphone-based medical data gathering and monitoring system. This project was recently awarded ($307,079) from the National Institute on Aging to develop an intervention for heart failure which uses the iRxReminder application whose features include medication reminding, surveying, (e.g., mood, weight, exercise) and patient education (e.g., podcasts).  In previous research conducted by Sterns and most recently in a study with psychology graduate student Carly Goldstein and Hughes which was funded by the Clinical Translational Research Initiative, the system has been used successfully with older adults and has been found to improve medication adherence and self-management of chronic illnesses including heart disease, stroke recovery, diabetes and dementia.