Adherence to medications in oncology

Improving patient outcomes and quality of life through research into adherence of medications and self-care advice.

An estimated 230,000 medication-related hospital admissions occur in Australia each year. Many of these are related to suboptimal medication adherence and medication errors.

Assisting patients to adhere to their prescribed medication regime is a key healthcare issue to reduce avoidable healthcare expenditure and to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

Safety and adherence to medications and self-care advice in oncology (SAMSON) uses three elements in its approach to improve patient medication adherence. The intent is to reduce medication errors and support patients in self-managing medication side effects, specifically those for people requiring long-term oral medication administration. The three elements are:

  1. a tailored m-health smartphone app that provides reminders and self-care advice, as well as monitoring adherence
  2. a comprehensive initial pharmacology consultation for patient safety and education
  3. a series of scheduled telephone consultations with nursing staff to promote adherence using behaviour change techniques and by encouraging patient self-management

The trial of 140 patients will test SAMSON’s efficacy with Ibrutinib, a high-cost oral therapeutic to treat several types of leukaemia and lymphoma, recently listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).


Associated researchers

SAMSON is led by Professor Penny Schofield and aims to improve patient survivorship and quality of life, whilst reducing unnecessary healthcare expenditure from non-adherence and medication errors.

Associate Investigator Dr Lisa Grech has been awarded a two-year Victorian Cancer Agency Health Services Early Career Fellowship to assess the feasibility and acceptability of this intervention.

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