A recent 6-week study of patients with atopic dermatitis, chronic skin disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes, revealed that text messages appear to be valuable both as a reminder aid and educational tool.
Study participants received a daily text message that: reminded them to continue their current treatment for atopic dermatitis, or provided them with educational information about their condition.
Subjects self-reported significant improvements in both medication adherence and self-care behaviors known to promote better clinical outcomes and quality of life. In addition, subjects expressed high levels of satisfaction with the text message intervention, with the majority willing to continue to use the service or recommend it to a friend.
As reminder aids, text messages have been proven valuable for patients in many settings and help improve adherence to treatment. As such, the results from our study which illustrate improved adherence are not surprising.
However, the study went a step further by integrating educational information into the text messages sent to subjects. Educating patients along with reminders may prove to be a stepping-stone for improving self-care behaviors for a variety of chronic diseases.
The report concludes that the relatively recent revolution of cellular phones and the Internet has paved a new pathway for patient-doctor communication. “Physicians must begin to utilize this technology to facilitate better delivery of education and healthcare.” We couldn’t agree more. : )