Results Summary

What was the research about?

If patients don’t take medicines as directed, the medicines don’t work as well for treating a health problem. It may also lead to more health problems. If doctors knew which patients were less likely to take medicines as directed, they could find ways to help these patients.

In this study, the research team wanted to learn if knowing who took medicines as directed in the past would predict if patients take a new medicine as directed. The team created two statistical models to predict if patients would take a medicine as directed. First, the research team created a model to predict if patients would take medicines to lower cholesterol. Then, they created a second model using data from these patients plus others who were taking medicines to lower blood pressure or strengthen bones.

What were the results?

The statistical model to predict if patients would take medicines to lower cholesterol worked well. But using the same model to predict if patients were taking other medicines didn’t work as well. The model that was based on data from more groups of patients worked better at predicting if patients were taking medicines to lower blood pressure or strengthen bones.

What did the research team do?

The research team looked at health record data from 89,490 patients. These patients started taking medicines to lower cholesterol during the study. Of these, the average age was 55, and 54 percent were women. The team also used data from patients who started taking medicines either to lower blood pressure or strengthen bones during the study.

The research team measured how often patients filled their prescriptions in the past. The team used these data to create a statistical model to predict if patients took medicines to lower cholesterol. Then, the team created another model to predict if patients would take more types of medicines. Both models took into account patients’ traits, such as age and health problems, that might also affect if patients take medicines as directed. The team compared how well the two models worked.

A group of 10 patients helped to design the study.

What were the limits of the study?

Other things, like family support, can affect if patients take medicines as directed. Health records often don’t include these data. Also, the team had data about how often patients filled prescriptions. But they didn’t know if patients took the medicines. Results may have been different if the team had these data.

To improve the models, future research could collect data on whether patients took their medicines.

How can people use the results?

Researchers can use these results when considering ways to predict which patients may not take their medicines as directed.

Final Research Report

View this project's final research report.

Peer-Review Summary

Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also assesses how the project addressed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts read a draft report of the research and provide comments about the report. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. These reviewers cannot have conflicts of interest with the study.

The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve descriptions of the conduct of the study or to clarify the connection between results and conclusions. Sometimes, awardees revise their draft reports twice or more to address all of the reviewers’ comments. 

Overall, the reviewers found the report to be outstanding and clearly written. They found all of the conclusions to have support from the study’s findings. The reviewers provided a list of specific comments and suggestions primarily with the goal of enhancing clarity, and the researchers edited some of the language of the report in response and added suggested citations.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Project Information

Joshua J. Gagne, TRD, PharmD, ScD
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Adherence Prediction Algorithms to Explain Treatment Heterogeneity and Guide Adherence Improvement

Key Dates

July 2014
September 2019

Study Registration Information


Has Results
Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: November 30, 2022