Scientists in the United States have revealed that text messaging by mobile phone can be used effectively by diabetes patients to help improve the management of their condition.
The study, carried out in Denver and published in the American Journal of Managed Care, examined the effectiveness of diabetic adults using a self-management approach via text messaging between their visits to the clinic. The SMS messages contained reminders about blood sugar levels and their next appointment.
The pilot study involved patients receiving text message prompts over a three-month period, with blood sugar measurements being requested three times per week and reminders sent out seven days, three days and the day prior to each scheduled appointment, with acknowledgments being requested for all messages.
On analysis, which took into account any substantial changes in attendance, it was found that 79 per cent of participants responded to over half of their text message prompts. The patients also said they experienced increased social support, that the scheme made them feel more accountable and had an improved awareness of health information. When prompted by text, 66 per cent offered glucose readings, as compared to just 12 per cent at two preceding clinic visits.
The researchers suggested that for some patients, mobile phone text messaging could improve chronic disease management support and patient–provider communications away from the clinic.

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