October 10th, 2011 by Christian Seebode

Another remarkable result is contributed by this post:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sarikabansal/2011/10/07/mhealth-text-message-txt2stop/2/

To the delight of mobile health proponents around the world, the researchers found that nearly 11% of smokers in the intervention group quit smoking, as compared to 5% of those in the control group. They published their findings in the Lancet this summer.

This study is part of a growing trend towards using mobile phones as platforms to encourage healthy behaviors. With over five billion mobile phone connections worldwide, it is not surprising that the public health community is looking to use them to improve health outcomes. Proponents have even created a catchy term, “mHealth,” to encompass all medical practices supported by mobile devices.

This again show that there is indeed something about text messaging and healthy behaviour which is not fully understood.  Other examples are:Smart phone reminder to join gym

http://patient-centered-it.com/2010/09/30/text-messages-boost-patient-outcomes/

http://patient-centered-it.com/2010/07/30/e-mail-could-be-good-for-your-patients-health/

The question is: Why is text messaging so powerful and what are the constraints.? I’ll try to collect some more data on that. For now i have to admit in works in some situations. We know from other experiences  that reminders are good at keeping a patient on track because healthcare situations might  get complicated and inconvenient (http://dermatology.cdlib.org/149/letters/atopic/feldman.html). Maybe aherence is beyond borders of understanding the therapy such that a text message breaks a complicated therapy down in simple instructions. Or maybe it is just the right tool to enforce learning healthy behaviour as oposite of the learned unhealthy alternative. We need to understand contents and frequency of text messages among other things. Another dimension is interactivity

Another operational consideration is the look and feel of the texting systems. Researchers hypothesize that text message systems work better if they are interactive rather than one-way – meaning that users should be able to ask questions and receive more targeted health information if desired. To that end, Dr. Clauson’s team is currently conducting a study to monitor the differences in diabetes outcomes with uni-directional and bi-directional texting.

I bet the bidirectional variant is even more powerful since it implies some kind of creational act and self-reflection. This scenario maybe an important part of of a Patient Centered IT infrastructure

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