The doctor will text you now: Post-ER follow-up that works

November 11, 2013

Diabetic patients treated in the emergency department who were enrolled in a program in which they received automated daily text messages improved their level of control over their diabetes and their medication adherence, according to a study published online today in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("Trial to Examine Test Message Based mHealth in Emergency Department Patients with Diabetes (TExT-MED): A Randomized Controlled Trial").

"Our results were especially pronounced for Latinos, who are twice as likely as non-Latinos to develop diabetes," said lead study author Sanjay Arora, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "These patients, when followed up by text messages for 6 months, improved enough to reduce their dependence on the for care of their diabetes. Text messaging is effective, low-cost and widely available for our patients who often have no other source of medical care."

Adult patients with poorly controlled diabetes who visited an urban, public emergency department for care received two daily text messages for 6 months. For patients who received the text messages, decreased by 1.05 percent and self-reported 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.

The text messaging program, called TExT-MED, included 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 provided three medication reminders per week, two healthy living challenges per week and two trivia questions per week, designed to build diabetes awareness (sample: "Trivia" Eating too much sugar and other sweet foods is a cause of diabetes. A. True. B. False.").

"Diabetes is emerging as a public health epidemic, particularly in low-income, underserved inner city and minority populations who depend on safety-net systems for ," said Dr Arora. "Our goal is to transition our patients from crisis management to long-term diabetes management. In the absence of other health care options, reaching our patients by makes us partners in handling their disease and improves their quality of life."

Explore further: Can text messaging improve medication adherence?

More information:

Related Stories

Can text messaging improve medication adherence?

May 24, 2011

Text messaging and adolescents don’t always mix well, but researchers at National Jewish Health hope text messages can spur teenagers to take their asthma medications more reliably. The study is testing whether health ...

Lifestyle changes cut diabetes risk in high-risk patients

October 16, 2013

(HealthDay)—Comprehensive lifestyle interventions decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes in high-risk patients, but the benefits are less clear in diagnosed patients, according to a review published in the Oct. 15 issue ...

Recommended for you

Major fall in diabetes-related amputations since the 1990s

November 22, 2015

A major new study has found a significant reduction in diabetes-related amputations since the mid-1990s, credited to improvements in diabetes care over this period. The research is published in Diabetologia (the journal of ...

Blocking immune cell treats new type of age-related diabetes

November 18, 2015

Diabetes is often the result of obesity and poor diet choices, but for some older adults the disease might simply be a consequence of aging. New research has discovered that diabetes—or insulin resistance—in aged, lean ...

Bacteria may cause type 2 diabetes

June 1, 2015

Bacteria and viruses have an obvious role in causing infectious diseases, but microbes have also been identified as the surprising cause of other illnesses, including cervical cancer (Human papilloma virus) and stomach ulcers ...

Engineered hot fat implants reduce weight gain in mice

August 20, 2015

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a novel way to engineer the growth and expansion of energy-burning "good" fat, and then found that this fat helped reduce weight gain and lower blood glucose ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.