Adherence to medications: new developments in AdhereR planned for 2018
The R package AdhereR, developed by HESPER researcher Alexandra Dima and statistician and software developer Dan Dediu (Collegium de Lyon, Institut d’Études Avancées, Lyon, and Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen), welcomes a new team member in 2018. Samuel Allemann, clinical pharmacist and adherence researcher at the Swiss Pharmacists’ Association & University of Basel, will join HESPER in March to work on developing and testing new functions for AdhereR within a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
AdhereR is a statistical package developed for the open-source statistical environment R which includes ready-to-use functions to estimate medication use and adherence based on electronic healthcare data. This an essential step for many research projects as well as for clinical decision-making, and AdhereR is making such calculations easier and more efficient. Since its publication in April 2017 in PLoS One (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174426), AdhereR (version 0.1.0) has had an enthusiastic response from the research community. It has been presented at three conferences, EHPS (European Health Psychology Conference), EuroDURG (European Drug Utilisation Research Group), and ESPACOMP (European Society for Patient Adherence, Compliance and Persistance), and has received positive feedback from conference attendees.
An important challenge for the treatment of chronic conditions is polypharmacy: when people use multiple medications at the same time, different patterns of medication use may have different effects on the effectiveness and safety of the treatment. Calculating these patterns in a systematic and transparent way that is informed by clinical judgement would take adherence research to a next level. The possibility to validate and replicate these findings in new clinical contexts would bring the benefits of Open Science to researchers and users of research knowledge alike. Samuel will focus on developing algorithms for polypharmacy in collaboration with University of Basel, where this line of research has developed in the last years. Other teams across Europe have already expressed their interest to join in these efforts to build Open Science procedures for the adherence research community.
AdhereR can be installed from the R repository (CRAN). Its source code is available on GitHub.