Identifying configurations of behavior change techniques in effective medication adherence interventions: a qualitative comparative analysis
BACKGROUND: Interventions to improve medication adherence are diverse and complex. Consequently, synthesizing this evidence is challenging. We aimed to extend the results from an existing systematic review of interventions to improve medication adherence by using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to identify necessary or sufficient configurations of behavior change techniques among effective interventions. METHODS: We used data from 60 studies in a completed systematic review to examine the combinations of nine behavior change techniques (increasing knowledge, increasing awareness, changing attitude, increasing self-efficacy, increasing intention formation, increasing action control, facilitation, increasing maintenance support, and motivational interviewing) among studies demonstrating improvements in adherence. RESULTS: Among the 60 studies, 34 demonstrated improved medication adherence. Among effective studies, increasing patient knowledge was a necessary but not sufficient technique. We identified seven configurations of behavior change techniques sufficient for improving adherence, which together accounted for 26 (76 %) of the effective studies. The intervention configuration that included increasing knowledge and self-efficacy was the most empirically relevant, accounting for 17 studies (50 %) and uniquely accounting for 15 (44 %). CONCLUSIONS: This analysis extends the completed review findings by identifying multiple combinations of behavior change techniques that improve adherence. Our findings offer direction for policy makers, practitioners, and future comparative effectiveness research on improving adherence.