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Diabetes text-message self-management support program (SMS4BG): a pilot study

Dobson, Rosie, Carter, Karen, Cutfield, Richard, Hulme, Ashley, Hulme, Richard, McNamara, Catherine, Maddison, Ralph, Murphy, Rinki, Shepherd, Matthew, Strydom, Johan and Whittaker, Robyn 2015, Diabetes text-message self-management support program (SMS4BG): a pilot study, JMIR mHealth and uHealth, vol. 3, no. 1, January-March, pp. 1-9, doi: 10.2196/mhealth.3988.

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Title Diabetes text-message self-management support program (SMS4BG): a pilot study
Author(s) Dobson, Rosie
Carter, Karen
Cutfield, Richard
Hulme, Ashley
Hulme, Richard
McNamara, Catherine
Maddison, RalphORCID iD for Maddison, Ralph
Murphy, Rinki
Shepherd, Matthew
Strydom, Johan
Whittaker, Robyn
Journal name JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Volume number 3
Issue number 1
Season January-March
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher JMIR Publications
Place of publication Toronto, Ont.
Publication date 2015-01
ISSN 2291-5222
Keyword(s) SMS
diabetes mellitus
mobile phone
text message
Summary BACKGROUND: The increasing prevalence of diabetes and costly long-term complications associated with poor glycemic control are issues facing health services worldwide. Diabetes self-management, with the support of health care providers, is critical for successful outcomes, however, frequent clinical contact is costly. Text messages via short message service (SMS) have the advantage of instant transmission at low cost and, given the ubiquity of mobile phones, may be the ideal platform for the delivery of diabetes self-management support. A tailored text message-based diabetes support intervention called Self-Management Support for Blood Glucose (SMS4BG) was developed. The intervention incorporates prompts around diabetes education, management, and lifestyle factors (healthy eating, exercise, and stress management), as well as blood glucose monitoring reminders, and is tailored to patient preferences and clinical characteristics.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the usability and acceptability of SMS4BG among adults with poorly controlled diabetes.

METHODS: Adults (aged 17 to 69 years) with type 1 (n=12) or type 2 diabetes (n=30), a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) over 70 mmol/mol (8.6%), and who owned a mobile phone (n=42) were recruited to take part in a 3-month pilot study of SMS4BG. At registration, participants selected the modules they would like to receive and, where appropriate, the frequency and timing of blood glucose monitoring reminders. Patient satisfaction and perceptions of the usability of the program were obtained via semistructured phone interviews conducted at completion of the pilot study. HbA1c was obtained from patient records at baseline and completion of the pilot study.

RESULTS: Participants received on average 109 messages during the 3-month program with 2 participants withdrawing early from the study. Follow-up interviews were completed with 93% of participants with all reporting SMS4BG to be useful and appropriate to their age and culture. Participants reported a range of perceived positive impacts of SMS4BG on their diabetes and health behaviors. HbA1c results indicated a positive impact of the program on glycemic control with a significant decrease in HbA1c from baseline to follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: A tailored text message-based intervention is both acceptable and useful in supporting self-management in people with poorly controlled diabetes. A randomized controlled trial of longer duration is needed to assess the efficacy and sustainability of SMS4BG.
Language eng
DOI 10.2196/mhealth.3988
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
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