Text messages helpful in controlling diabetes

June 14, 2014, The Scripps Research Institute

Initial results of the Dulce Digital study were presented at the 74th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco on June 13. The study findings suggest that a text message-based self-management intervention improves glycemic control in high risk Latinos with type 2 diabetes.

"Don't forget! Check before and after physical activity."

"Use small plates! Portions will look larger and you may feel more satisfied after eating."

"Tick, tock. Take your medication at the same time every day!"

These are just a few of the text messages that participants received as part of the Dulce Digital study conducted by the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, a subsidiary of Scripps Health and one of the nation's leading research, patient care and education organizations.

Initial results of the Dulce Digital study were presented at the 74th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco on June 13. The study findings suggest that a -based self-management intervention improves in high risk Latinos with type 2 diabetes.

"The use of mobile phones in health care is very promising, especially when it comes to low-income populations with chronic diseases," said Athena Philis-Tsimikas, M.D., corporate vice president for the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute. "We found that by using text messages we were able to circumvent many of the barriers these patients face, such as lack of transportation or childcare, while still being able to expand the reach of and education."

Scripps partnered with a San Diego-based community clinic that provides services to a large proportion of Latino patients with . The 126 study participants were randomized into one of two arms: standard diabetes management care (control) only or text messaging and standard care. Standard care consisted of regular visits with a primary care physician and a brief computerized presentation conducted in English or Spanish that included; diabetes nutrition standards; desired targets for blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure; and medications recommended to achieve control.

For the text messaging group, the same standard care was provided but in addition messages were sent to their mobile devices at random times throughout the week. The messages focused on healthy nutrition tips, the benefits of physical activity and medication adherence, and requests to check blood sugar and send back results. Two to three messages were sent each day at the beginning of study enrollment, and the frequency tapered off over a six-month period.

"At the six-month mark, we found that the Dulce Digital participants had a significantly larger decrease in hemoglobin A1c test levels than the control group," said Dr. Tsimikas.

Potential next steps include incorporating text messaging into conventional self-management education programs. Patients may be seen in one-on-one visits or groups visits and then have the text messages added as supplements once they get home. Messages would continue as ongoing reminders of care over the next six months.

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

Related Stories

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, ...

Community-based weight loss program aids diabetes management

April 23, 2014
Weight loss and control of blood sugar can reduce the risk of complications in patients with diabetes but this is difficult for many to achieve. A University of California, San Diego School of Medicine randomized controlled ...

More than 10 percent of heart attack patients may have undiagnosed diabetes

June 3, 2014
At least 10 percent of people who have a heart attack may have undiagnosed diabetes, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2014.

More patient education, not physician training, helps control diabetes

May 9, 2014
Teaching people with diabetes how to control their blood glucose levels helps them achieve better results, finds a new study in Ethnicity and Disease. Surprisingly, providing intensive training to physicians of diabetes patients ...

Daily text messages improve diabetes outcomes

November 22, 2013
(HealthDay)—Patients with poorly controlled diabetes have improvements in hemoglobin A1c and medication adherence and fewer trips to the emergency room after receiving daily text messages, according to a study published ...

Studies show community-based diabetes programs are key to lowered costs and improved care

November 5, 2012
New findings from a 15-year series of studies led by care providers at Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute reveal that culturally tailored community-created programs are effective at reducing health-related costs and delivering ...

Recommended for you

Diabetes gene found that causes low and high blood sugar levels in the same family

January 15, 2018
A study of families with rare blood sugar conditions has revealed a new gene thought to be critical in the regulation of insulin, the key hormone in diabetes.

Discovery could lead to new therapies for diabetics

January 12, 2018
New research by MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., and her team has demonstrated that an enzyme she had previously identified as playing a role in peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy ...

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue

January 11, 2018
The human body has two primary kinds of fat—white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories in order to produce heat and has garnered interest as a potential means ...

Big strides made in diabetes care

January 5, 2018
(HealthDay)—This past year was a busy, productive one for diabetes research and care.

Gene therapy restores normal blood glucose levels in mice with type 1 diabetes

January 4, 2018
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in high blood levels of glucose. A study published January 4th in Cell Stem Cell ...

Goodbye, needles? Patch might be the future for blood-sugar tracking

January 4, 2018
(HealthDay)—Developers of a new patch hope to eliminate a big barrier in type 2 diabetes treatment—painful finger-sticks and injections. The new patch—which actually uses an array of tiny needles that researchers promise ...

0 comments

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.