Text messages improve diabetes care

Researchers at the University of Chicago studied the effects of a text messaging program aimed at diabetics and found that the program helped them better control their diabetes while cutting healthcare costs.

Results of the study were published in the February issue of Health Affairs journal.

The team of researchers recruited 74 diabetic adults and followed them between May 2012 and February 2013. Of those 74, 67 completed the six-month program. The study employed another 274 people with diabetes as the control group, according to an article in Medscape Medical News.

Called CareSmarts, the mobile phone-based program provided participants with text message alerts such as reminders to refill their medications, complete their self-assessments and ways in which they can change their behaviors. 

The results of the study showed that those who completed the program had lowered their glucose levels from an average of 7.9 percent to 7.2 percent.

The researchers also observed a total net cost savings of 8.8 percent, with each patient saving over $400. 

The authors of the study concluded: "As a widely available, low-cost technology, mobile phones are a promising tool to use in engaging patients in behavior change and facilitating self-care between visits.

"Those early results suggest that mHealth programs can support health care organizations’ pursuit of the triple aim of improving patients’ experiences with care, improving population health, and reducing the per capita cost of health care."


Topics: Nutrition , Technology & IT