Methods for assessing the adherence to medical devices

By Leah Johnson, Stephanie Lynn Swarner, Ariane Van Der Straten, Ginger Rothrock

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.


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.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Leah JohnsonLeah 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.

Stephanie Lynn SwarnerStephanie L. Swarner, BS, is a materials engineer at RTI International. She develops polymeric materials for a variety of medical device technologies.

Ariane Van Der StratenAriane 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 RothrockGinger 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.

Contact RTI Press

To contact an author, request an exam or review copy, or seek permission to use copyrighted content, contact our editorial team.