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Text Messaging as a Tool for Behavior Change in Disease Prevention and Management

Posted on April 29, 2011 I Written By

Recently I posted a few different pieces about technology being used to help people quit smoking, lose weight, and even manage their diabetes.  A new study is showing how valuable text messaging can be when it comes to managing your health.  It is by far the most expansive study I have read and makes a lot of interesting points and logical conclusions.

One of the biggest advantages to text messaging is that it is already widely used, and it is extremely inexpensive to use.  This low cost allows organizations without major financial backing to use text messaging as a tool for their patients.  There is no need create a new device or develop expensive software.  You simply use text messaging to distribute the desired messages to your patients.

The study specifically referenced studies that showed how text messaging was beneficial to people that were trying to quit smoking by holding them accountable for their actions.  The same principle applied to people that were trying to lose weight.  Taking responsibility for your actions is a huge part of both of these issues, and using text messaging allowed the affected people to accept that responsibility.

Text messaging can also be used to help manage diseases such as diabetes by sending out reminders to the patients.  There are so many aspects to properly managing diabetes that getting helpful reminders can only be a good thing.

While the study doesn’t compare text messaging to other technology that can be used for managing our health it does an excellent job of analyzing the benefits of this inexpensive and widely used technology.  The numbers that they present are quite staggering in some areas, and it is definitely worth a look at the complete study.

Text Messages from An EMR

Posted on June 15, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Text messages are becoming more and more popular in the US. It’s funny, because the US is about 5 or so years behind Europe when it comes to the use of text messages. Better late than never I guess. The addiction is especially true with high school children, but the college ranks are ravaged with students who are addicted to texting. I’ve heard some parents say that a text message is the only way they can communicate with their child (how sad is that?).

Considering text messages are getting so popular, I wonder if any EMR companies have integrated text messaging into their software. The most obvious use would be to send a text message reminder about the appointment. I think many patients would love this service. A text message reminder for an annual pap smear or other follow up appointment would be really beneficial as well.

This really wouldn’t be that hard to implement since you can send an email which then goes to someone as a text message. The challenge is only figuring out which provider that person was on in order to send the email to the right place.

Is anyone doing text messages from their EMR? Certainly there are some HIPAA considerations here, but that should be covered by the agreement when they give you their cell number.