Fix bad habits with SMS

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docsmsHealthcare is turning to mobile devices, with new studies and developments proving that medical practitioners can care for patients more effectively using a variety of communication channels.

Minor lifestyle modifications are the only thing necessary to severely decrease a person’s risk of developing certain serious diseases and illnesses. So healthcare professionals are switching to a more preventative method of care, and they’re using technology to do so. Among the tools being utilised to trigger healthier lifestyle changes, text message reminders sent to patients have seen huge success.

Researchers in a recent study called the Tobacco, Exercise and Diet Messages (TEXT ME), sent four texts a week to 350 people with heart disease reminding them to practice healthier habits. Another similarly sized group of patients stuck with their usual care routines but did not receive the messages.

The messages provided to the first group offered advice, motivational reminders, and support to change lifestyle behaviours to eat right, exercise more and smoke less.

After the trial period, patients receiving the texts generally had more success reducing their smoking, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol compared to those who didn’t receive the messages, according to the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Before the study began, 53 percent of both groups were smokers. After the study 26 percent of patients who received the messages were smokers, compared with 43 percent who did not.

Another study offered those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes the chance to receive education and support through SMS messages. Similarly, the technology was used to encourage and advise on lifestyle changes for people at risk of developing diabetes.

Duncan Browne from Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, one of the organisations sending the messages, advocated text messaging to help encourage healthier habits.

“SMS is an exciting study looking at how type 2 diabetes can be prevented and it fits in with the recently announced national agenda for prevention of this condition,” he said.

If you work in healthcare and are keen to see these results benefit your patients, please  get in touch and we can start you on a free trial and help you get on your way.

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Felicity Cullen

Marketing assistant at Esendex