Diabetic patients treated in the emergency department who were enrolled in a program sending daily automatic text messages improved their level of control over their diabetes and their medication adherence, according to a study from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Researchers found that of their population studied, Latinos, more than twice as likely than non-Latinos to develop diabetes, were able to reduce their dependence on the ED for care of their diabetes.
The text messaging program, called TExT-MED, is low cost and widely available for those patients who have no other source of medical care. It includes daily motivational messages such as “Having diabetes can lead to a heart attack or stroke — but it doesn’t have to” and “Eat more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains and less salt and fat.” In addition, it provides three medication reminders per week, two healthy living challenges per week and two trivia questions per week, all designed to build diabetes awareness (sample: “Trivia” Eating too much sugar and other sweet foods is a cause of diabetes. A. True. B. False.”).
The study, published online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, evaluated adult patients with poorly controlled diabetes who visited an urban, public ED for care received two daily text messages for six months. For patients who received the text messages, blood glucose levels decreased by 1.05 percent and self-reported medication adherence improved from 4.5 to 5.4 (on an eight-point scale). Effects were even larger among Spanish speakers for both medication adherence and blood glucose levels. The proportion of patients who visited the emergency department was lower in the text messaging group (35.9 percent) than in the control group (51.6 percent). Almost all (93.6 percent) patients enrolled in the program reported enjoying it and 100 percent reported that they would recommend it to family and friends.
Source: American College of Emergency Physicians, November 11, 2013
2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Mobile Health delivers a snapshot of mobile health (mHealth) trends, including current and planned mHealth initiatives, types and purpose of mHealth interventions, targeted populations and health conditions, and challenges, impact and results from mHealth efforts.