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Views of patients and professionals about electronic multicompartment medication devices: a qualitative study
  1. Jill Hall1,
  2. Christine Bond2,
  3. Moira Kinnear3,
  4. Brian McKinstry1
  1. 1Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  3. 3Pharmacy Service, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Jill Hall; jill.hall{at}


Objectives To explore the perceived acceptability, advantages and disadvantages of electronic multicompartment medication devices.

Design Qualitative study using 8 focus groups and 10 individual semistructured interviews. Recordings were transcribed and analysed thematically. Strategies were employed to ensure the findings were credible and trustworthy.

Participants and setting Community pharmacists (n=11), general practitioners (n=9), community nurses (n=12) and social care managers (n=8) were recruited from the National Health Service (NHS) and local authority services. Patients (n=15) who were current conventional or electronic multicompartment medication device users or had medication adherence problems were recruited from community pharmacies. 3 informal carers participated.

Results Electronic multicompartment medication devices which prompt the patient to take medication may be beneficial for selected individuals, particularly those with cognitive impairment, but who are not seriously impaired, provided they have a good level of dexterity. They may also assist individuals where it is important that medication is taken at fixed time intervals. These are likely to be people who are being supported to live alone. No single device suited everybody; smaller/lighter devices were preferred but their usefulness was limited by the small number/size of storage compartments. Removing medications was often challenging. Transportability was an important factor for patients and carers. A carer's alert if medication is not taken was problematic with multiple barriers to implementation and no consensus as to who should receive the alert. There was a lack of enthusiasm among professionals, particularly among pharmacists, due to concerns about responsibility and funding for devices as well as ensuring devices met regulatory standards for storage and labelling.

Conclusions This study provides indicators of which patients might benefit from an electronic multicompartment medication device as well as the kinds of features to consider when matching a patient with a device. It also highlights other considerations for successful implementation including issues of responsibility, regulation and funding.

  • medication device
  • patient adherence
  • reminder systems

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  • Contributors BM, CB and MK designed the study. JH collected the data and led the analysis. BM, CB and MK made substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation. All authors were involved in writing the paper.

  • Funding The project was funded by the Chief Scientist's Office of the Scottish Government (grant number CZH/4/968).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval NRES Committee London—Hampstead.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The authors are happy to share the research data with other researchers on request.

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