AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 1294–1301 | Cite as

Challenges in Using Mobile Phones for Collection of Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence Data in a Resource-Limited Setting

  • Jessica E. Haberer
  • Julius Kiwanuka
  • Denis Nansera
  • Ira B. Wilson
  • David R. Bangsberg
Original Paper


Frequent antiretroviral therapy adherence monitoring could detect incomplete adherence before viral rebound develops and thus potentially prevent treatment failure. Mobile phone technologies make frequent, brief adherence interviews possible in resource-limited settings; however, feasibility and acceptability are unknown. Interactive voice response (IVR) and short message service (SMS) text messaging were used to collect adherence data from 19 caregivers of HIV-infected children in Uganda. IVR calls or SMS quantifying missed doses were sent in the local language once weekly for 3–4 weeks. Qualitative interviews were conducted to assess participant impressions of the technologies. Participant interest and participation rates were high; however, weekly completion rates for adherence queries were low (0–33%), most commonly due to misunderstanding of personal identification numbers. Despite near ubiquity of mobile phone technology in resource-limited settings, individual level collection of healthcare data presents challenges. Further research is needed for effective training and incentive methods.


mHealth Mobile phones Adherence data collection Resource-limited settings 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica E. Haberer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Julius Kiwanuka
    • 4
  • Denis Nansera
    • 4
  • Ira B. Wilson
    • 5
  • David R. Bangsberg
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of General Internal MedicineMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Initiative for Global HealthCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General HospitalMassachusetts Institute of Technology, and HarvardCharlestownUSA
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsMbarara University of Science and TechnologyKampalaUganda
  5. 5.Department of MedicineTufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  6. 6.Faculty of MedicineMbarara University of Science and TechnologyKampalaUganda

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