Texting Helps Diabetic TeensFor all of the negative attention that technology sometimes gets — especially when it comes to teens — it was nice to come across this news article a few weeks ago.

A researcher running a small pilot study at the Columbus, Ohio Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that treatment adherence rates shot up amongst teen diabetic patients after they received personalized text message reminders on their cell phones. Which really is not all that surprising, since previous research has demonstrated similar increases in adherence to treatment with text messaging. But a demonstration of the power and utility of our interconnected world — how things like cell phones and iPhones can be used for good too.

Jennifer Dyer, MD, MPH conducted the study, but the way it was conducted suggests we still have a long way to go before this could become commonplace.

During the study, she sent personalized questions and reminders specific to diabetes adherence activities in addition to friendly, supportive messages to her patients. By asking questions about glucose testing, meal boluses and frequency of high and low glucoses, Dr. Dyer has seen an increase in teens taking their medications.

I’m not sure most doctors would have time to send personalized messages as she did. And you have to wonder — would non-personalized messages from a software program work just as well? I’d think not, because the teenage recipient knows they’re coming from a computer, not a human being, so there’s less incentive to care.

This was a good pilot study. Now we need a larger-scale study (published in a peer-reviewed journal for good measure) as a followup to see if the results can be repeated, and scaled up. If this sort of thing can work with something like diabetes, it’s likely it can also work with other concerns such as depression and bipolar disorder too.

Read the full article: Pilot Study Supports Adolescent Diabetes Patients through Personalized Text Messages