Electronic busybody for chronic busy bodies
How best to remind forgetful clients
that it's time to pop a pill? Beep 'em. One hundred participants at
Los Angeles' AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) were recently provided
with pagers as part of a trial program developed by prez Michael
Weinstein. "We send out a morning message reminding clients to take
their meds, another at midday, and one at 8 pm," he said. "Our
clinic staff also page people to remind them about doctors'
appointments and follow-up visits."
The trial group includes hard-to-reach homeless clients and those
who have chronic problems with nonadherence. Pager pluses include a
low $60-a-year operating cost and -- for those who are phoneless --
a sense that somebody out there cares. "When you compare the $60
price tag to the cost of medicine for people who are nonadherent,
it's a bargain," Weinstein said. There is no fee for participants,
who can also use the pager for personal calls. If the beepers create
a buzz, AHF plans to document results for wider use.