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admin | starting exercise program | 23.12.2014
The number of children and young people under the age of 20 who use mental health drug treatments was up in all areas over the past 10 years. The prevalence of the use of antipsychotics for the treatment of children is very low, currently standing at just 1%, but the number has doubled from 2001 to 2010. Can a messaging service for patient communication with front office staff eliminate time suck? A spoonful of sugar may make the medicine go down, but that’s hardly useful if a patient doesn’t remember to take it in the first place.
According to a new analysis, there could be a possible solution: text message reminders sent to patients’ phones from the doctor. The paper, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, reviewed data from 16 studies, all of which explored whether mobile telephone text reminders sent to patients made them more likely to take their medicine. Across the various studies, patients went from having a 50 percent rate of following through on medication to a nearly 68 percent rate. That could be a factor, said Laurie Buis, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan, who has also researched the subject.
Taking medicine is, of course, important — especially for people with chronic conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure.
That means if text reminders do work, they have “the potential to prevent major clinical events such as heart attacks, strokes and premature death,” study co-author Clara Chow wrote in an email.
There also needs to be more research to better quantify how influential these messages could be, Nieuwlaat added. For instance, researchers need to study more than just whether patients remembered taking their medicine, he said.

Meanwhile, even if text messaging is effective, it addresses only one reason people don’t take their medicine, Buis said. Plus, even if almost 70 percent of respondents ended up taking medicine, that isn’t everyone, she said, adding that a more comprehensive strategy is still necessary. The bankruptcy trustee is now accepting offers for HealthSpot’s assets, including 191 telemedicine kiosks, most of which have never been used.
Researchers found that texts could push people to do better at adhering to their drug regimens and, along the way, save the health system a fair bit of money.
In total, the studies included in this meta-analysis tracked the behavior of almost 3,000 chronically ill patients, looking at how well they complied with medication regimens, and found the text messages had an impact. Chronically ill people are also often on multiple medications, which can be hard to track and easy to forget about. Chow directs the cardiovascular division of the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia. Experts estimate patients not complying with their drug regimens cost the United States between $100 billion and $289 billion each year. Other questions, such as how often pharmacists refilled prescriptions and whether patients get healthier, would be powerful measures. Text messages are a good reminder if you forget something, but people often don’t take medicine for other reasons — they can’t afford the drugs or they dislike particular side effects. Anyone can publish their perspective on business and innovation in healthcare on MedCity News through MedCitizens. They pointed out that several of the studies they examined relied on participants to self-report how faithful they were with their prescription drugs.

If text reminders do prove effective, they could offer an easy, low-cost tool to address that problem.
As researchers further probe how helpful they could be, doctors and patients need to think about who would pay for that kind of service and if it’s worth the investment. Registration or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Since people often misremember or misreport this kind of information, that measure isn’t always the most reliable. In addition, the studies included in the analysis lasted on average about three months, though chronically ill people take their medications for years.
Still others used strategies like aligning a text message with timing for when patients should take particular doses.
Thus, the studies may not have accounted for whether patients eventually experience text message fatigue and consequently paid the reminders less attention. If that is the case, then text messages could initially be effective but, over time, lose their power in helping people take medicine.
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