Medication Motivation

Helping patients improve life-saving compliance routines--with music

listen Up:Marcia Holstad created the live network and led development of an accompanying smartphone application as an HIV education tool.
Kay Hinton

For people living with HIV, taking antiretroviral medication each day is a necessity. Without strict adherence to their treatment regimen, they risk further illness or spread of the disease.

That’s why Emory nursing professor Marcia Holstad created the LIVE Network, a seventy-minute simulated talk show and music program to educate and motivate men and women about their health and taking their medication. The network covers topics such as T cells, viral load, and dealing with side effects from disease and medication. The music—twelve songs from diff erent genres—makes learning about HIV enjoyable in keeping with the program theme of “every dose, every day.”

When Holstad tested the LIVE Network a few years ago, study participants asked if they could share the MP3 program with family members to help them understand what it means to be HIV positive. Some participants used the program to disclose their HIV status.

Holstad saw potential in the LIVE Network as an education tool for HIV clinicians and had a developer repackage it as a smartphone application called Music for Health. The app includes twelve songs with music videos and content related to HIV, medication adherence, and symptom self-management.

A total of 149 adults, predominately African American, evaluated Music for Health at six sites in rural Georgia. Holstad and her collaborators in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing are now analyzing four years’ worth of data. So far, “We learned that we need to keep participants interested,” says Holstad. “Our app was built to include all twelve songs at one time. Ideally, it would be better to roll out a new song every few months and add some type of engagement to keep people’s interest. But people responded to the app and told us they shared the information with their children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.”

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