According to the CDC, there are 29.1 million people with diabetes in the U.S. and total medical costs and lost work and wages have hit $245 billion. Can text messaging help with self-care management of diabetes and other chronic diseases and ultimately lower health care costs?
The answer is yes. The immediacy, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of SMS have led many public health researchers to choose texting as a way to engage and motivate patients. The positive results of these studies indicates mobile health initiatives that include texting can have a positive effect on the care and health outcomes of people with diabetes. Here are a few examples of successful programs involving text messaging and diabetes management:
- A University of Chicago Medicine study conducted a six-month texting study of people diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Educational text messages were sent with daily reminders to check blood sugar as well as nutrition and exercise tips. After six months, patients showed improved glycemic control and an 8.8% reduction in health care costs.
- Another study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research examined the motivation, intention and triggers to action of TExT-MED (Trial to Examine Text Messaging for Emergency Department patient with Diabetes), an automated text message based program tailored to low-income, urban Latinos with diabetes. The program showed that text messaging was especially effective when it cued specific behaviors such as medication reminders or challenged the patient to take a specific action.
- In southeast India, researchers found that men at-risk of type 2 diabetes, who were sent 2-3 text messages twice a week for two years, were 36% less likely to develop the disease. Text messages included content around lifestyle modification to prevent type 2 diabetes in men who were high risk. Findings from this study were published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Interested in learning how text messaging can be used in your public health research study? Contact TextMarks at 800-696-1393 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.