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

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by R Dobson, K Carter, R Cutfield, A Hulme, R Hulme, Cath McnamaraCath Mcnamara, Ralph MaddisonRalph Maddison, R Murphy, M Shepherd, J Strydom, R Whittaker
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.



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Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, The Authors