Not good about remembering to take your medication? Do you suffer from increased symptoms as a result? Here’s some health advice: text messages could help. A recent study published in the medical journal “The Lancet” found that phone messages helped 12% of HIV patients better stay with their treatment, compared with a group that did not have mobile follow-up. About nine percent more patients saw the amount of virus in their blood drop.
The study followed 538 people starting anti-viral drug treatment at three clinics in Kenya. About half of them received texts at weekly intervals. They had to respond to the message, stating if they were doing well, or if they weren’t. Those who said they weren’t doing well (or didn’t answer) got a follow-up call from a health clinic.
The messages made a great alternative remedy for improved health, as they only cost about $0.05 each. On average, the text messages helped one additional patient achieve viral suppression for every 12 ones texted. The study, which ran for about one and a half years, was led by a team at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, Canada.
The researchers concluded that the text intervention was well received by patients, many of whom reported that they felt “like someone cares.”
A research team in Ontario, Canada, now wants to adapt the text message therapy for diabetic patients. Some diabetics have to take up to five insulin shots a day, along with other medications and treatments. It is easy for diabetics to become overwhelmed or discouraged when trying to keep up with such complex daily therapies.
Talk to your doctor about the possibility of setting up text message intervention to help you get through and manage any more major health condition you have.