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Telephone treatment aids glaucoma compliance

In a study conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, an automated program of telephone calls was found to improve adherence to glaucoma treatment. However, so did usual care, so no conclusion could be made as to whether the phone program had any advantages for improving adherence compared to normal clinical care. In the United States, glaucoma affects more than 2 million people above the age of 40. Medication can slow the progression of the disease, but many individuals do not adhere to the treatment regimens, especially blacks and those who do not understand the importance of long-term care. To test different strategies on how to improve adherence, the researchers studied 312 patients with glaucoma who were considered non-adherent based on prior medical history, such as forgetting to take their medications or keeping their medical appointments. They were randomly assigned to receive usual clinical care (control group) or telephone intervention (treatment group), which included 12 automated phone calls over a 9-month period along with printed materials. The results showed that both groups improved in adherence, with no significant difference between the groups. So, while new technologies such as telephone intervention may help patients adhere to their glaucoma treatment, it is unclear if such technologies truly have benefits over traditional care. More studies must be conducted to reach definitive conclusions. *

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