• Report

Methods for assessing the adherence to medical devices


Johnson, L., Swarner, S. L., Van Der Straten, A., & Rothrock, G. (2016). Methods for assessing the adherence to medical devices. (RTI Press Publication No. MR-0036-1610). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. DOI: 10.3768/rtipress.2016.mr.0036.1610


The assessment of patient adherence to medication is necessary to distinguish between nonadherence and inferior drug efficacy, which is crucial for avoiding poor clinical outcomes. Adherence measurements pose various challenges, as many methods rely on subjective assessments or slow and costly measurements, which are infeasible in resource-poor settings. Recent developments of new medical devices for delivery of medications requires additional considerations in terms of adherence. In this report, we propose that medical devices may serve a dual-functional purpose: deliver drug and monitor adherence. We provide an illustrative case study that involves assessing the adherence of vaginal rings for delivery of antiretroviral drugs for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of HIV.

Author Details

Leah Johnson

Leah M. Johnson, PhD, is a research chemist at RTI International, where she leads a variety of research and development projects involving advanced materials for applications in both the health and the energy industries.

Ariane Van Der Straten

Ariane van der Straten, PhD, MPH, is an RTI Fellow and director of the Women’s Global Health Imperative group. She is a global leader in investigating the acceptability of and adherence to new biomedical technologies for HIV prevention.

Ginger Rothrock

Ginger D. Rothrock, PhD, is the director of the Advanced Materials and Systems Integration group at RTI. She is responsible for business development and technical leadership in the areas of advanced materials and manufacturing for commercial sectors.