U 4get 2 Take Ur Meds?

More and more studies are being conducted to test whether cell phones can be a helpful resource in reminding patients to take medications and perform tasks for chronic conditions.

As I mentioned in my blog from TEPR last week, more and more studies are being conducted to test whether cell phones can be a helpful resource in reminding patients to take medications and perform tasks for chronic conditions. Given all the available data, it seems like the pediatric population has the most to gain from this sort of process. Some studies indicate that only 50% of adolescents, on average, properly follow treatment steps. Add to this the fact that asthma research indicates that only 30% of teenagers take their medication correctly that, among kidney transplants, adolescents have the worst long-term outcomes of any age group, and it just makes sense that they be given daily reminders for their own good. What better way to produce these daily reminders than by providing alerts via that electronic device attached to their hands?

Ohio doctors have embraced this new technique, and full scale study sets are planned for later this year, where patients receive a daily reminder via text message to improve asthma medication adherence. Asthma seems to be a good place to start, and if that proves to be successful, there’s no reason healthcare providers wouldn’t want to try the same technique for other chronic conditions, like the aforementioned diabetes and kidney disease. It’s a natural incorporation of technology into healthcare and something that kids are inclined to respond to just based on how much they already use cell phones and text messaging. While the idea of using cell phones to help mange chronic conditions is not new (iHealthBeat reported on this last October), it is gaining more steam because of positive feedback. In fact, this area of study has so much promise that companies like Be Well Mobile have dedicated themselves to this new technique of medication adherence; they have actually set up a platform in which individuals who are interested in being a part of related studies can do so with almost any brand of cell phone through any major provider.

So, the next time your diabetic or asthmatic patient strolls into your office, don’t be surprised if your prescription calls for a cell phone. Who knows, maybe insurance companies will start picking up text messaging charges.