Text Messaging and Diabetes Management: Public Health Researchers Are Using SMS

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?

Diabetes holding Magnifying Glass . Studio ShotThe 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 tmsales@textmarks.com.




Melani Deyto

TextMarks is a simple and reliable SMS text messaging service that allows you to build your business or engage your community through group text communications, SMS auto-responders and mobile marketing solutions. Melani Deyto is a staff writer for TextMarks.

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