Adherence Research Network
The Adherence Network is a trans-NIH initiative whose goal is to provide leadership and vision for adherence research at NIH. It was initially launched in May 2007. Fourteen NIH Institutes, Centers, and programs within the Office of the Director participate in the Network. The mission of the Adherence Network is to pursue opportunities for strengthening adherence research at the NIH while innovating beyond existing investments. Its goals are to:
- provide leadership, vision, and support to promote a strong body of adherence research funded by the NIH: and,
- evaluate and disseminate scientific information and funding opportunities for adherence research at NIH.
On April 20, 2010 the NIH Adherence Network issued a Request for Information (RFI) in the NIH Guide (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-10-078.html). The RFI's major goal was to provide a venue for the community - including but not limited to, scientists, scientific organizations, health professionals, patient advocates, and the general public - to suggest priorities in adherence research. The directors and staff of the NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices (ICOs) participating in the Adherence Network appreciate the robust response to the RFI and are grateful for the thoughtful and informative responses to this request.
- Intervention target outcomes/populations: Greater focus needed on patients who are taking multiple medications for multiple, concurrent co-morbid conditions.
- Adherence determinants: The need for a better understanding of specific challenges for adherence (e.g., depression, mental illness, cognitive decline, incarceration, stigma, treatment factors).
The RFI participation window was open from April 20, 2010 through May 25, 2010. We received responses from 44 individuals. Because some answers include multiple challenge and solution areas, the final data set included 63 results. Response came from researchers, professional societies and practitioners. The result is a rich and complex dataset for Adherence Network members to use for short- and longer-term strategic planning.
Adherence Network staff undertook a preliminary analysis of the RFI qualitative data to inform the Network's activities. To achieve this goal, the subcommittee engaged in a collaborative process to identify key themes in the responses. During this preliminary analysis phase, the team expended considerable thought and effort to examine the responses to abstract general themes, while also considering the responsiveness of the RFI submissions to the goals of the Adherence Network. The resulting abstraction of scientific themes yields an important starting point to discuss adherence opportunities at NIH.
What overarching themes emanated from the RFI?
Our analysis found suggestions for adherence research that targeted both basic science and interventions research. The scientific themes that emerged from the data include, and are not limited to the following:
- Improving measurement science: The need to move improve and/or move beyond self-report ("subjective") measures toward greater use of "objective" adherence measures and biological outcomes; conduct science to operationalize "adherence thresholds" under which poorer clinical outcomes would be expected; and, explore changes in an individual's adherence over time.
- Intervention utility/feasibility: The need to develop and test adherence interventions that are feasible within busy clinic settings and that have clear utility for clinicians and members of comprehensive treatment teams.
- Intervention target outcomes/populations: Greater focus needed on patients who are taking multiple medications for multiple, concurrent co-morbid conditions
- Adherence determinants: The need for a better understanding of specific challenges for adherence (e.g., depression, mental illness, cognitive decline, incarceration, stigma, treatment factors)
Program staff from the NIH Institutes, Offices and Centers are members of the NIH Adherence Research Network. Members of the Network (listed below) actively pursue an agenda for increasing funding opportunities in the behavioral sciences, with many specifically focusing on adherence behavior. We are available to assist those interested in this topic. We are also actively involved both internally and externally in various activities such as conferences, workshops and publications to disseminate research results on this topic. Each member focuses on adherence and the relationship to the mission of the particular Institute or Center.
Also join the Adherence Research Network on: