September 30th, 2010 by Christian Seebode

This study is a remarkable result where skin patients get better outcomes just from receiving test messages that remind them to comply with their treatment.  It reminds of the fact that a prescribed treatment is not an executed treatment and that there is a level of patient participation which might sound trivial @ first sight but is nonetheless precondition for any therapeutic success. The patient has to follow the instructions of the doctor. It seems intuitive that this is what patients want and do but often enough there is a lack in complience which is responsible for treatment failure (i.e. http://dermatology.cdlib.org/149/letters/atopic/feldman.html).  This study documents that patient attention levels are an important factor. An older post shows a related issue.dreamstime_2038597

Patients participating in the study self-scored of the severity of their skin symptoms. Each of the patients suffers from atopic dermatitis, a common chronic skin disease, accounting for 30% of all dermatology visits for which self-care behaviors among patients is typically low, he said.

At enrollment into the trial project, 92% of the participants reported that they sometimes forgot to use their medication, and 88% said they often stopped treatment when their skin symptoms improved.

However, by the end of the study, 72% reported improved compliance to treatment. Sixty-eight percent reported an improvement in the number of self-care behaviors they routinely perform, such as avoiding harsh soaps, and nearly all — 98% — reported an improvement in at least one self-care behavior.

Sending out text messages is just a minor level of patient involvement (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17174016)  but it show the effectiveness of a simple intervention mediated by todays infrastructure and the importance of Patient Centered IT. Achieving better levels of participation could be a matter of personalization and adaption to patient daily routines (see http://patient-centered-it.com/2009/10/26/what-patients-learn/).

http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/mobile-wireless/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=227500893

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