Text messaging can help patients with diabetes manage their insulin dosing, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, KQED’s “Future of You” reports.
Details of Study
Researchers from New York City’s Bellevue Hospital’s Diabetes Program designed a pilot study — called the Mobile Insulin Titration Intervention — with the aim of helping low-income patients with diabetes remotely manage their insulin doses.
The study involved a group of insulin-dependent diabetic patients at Bellevue. Of the study participants, 33 received a daily reminder to take a blood sugar reading and report the value back in a text message. Each day, nurses reviewed the information online to determine whether values were too high or too low, meaning that the insulin dosage had to be altered. Meanwhile, a control group of 27 patients received normal care and titrated their insulin during in-person visits.
Among the participants who received daily text messages and weekly phone calls, 88% managed to get their blood sugar levels within an acceptable range, compared with 37% of participants in the control group.
The researchers estimated that those in the remote titration group saved about two hours of time and $15 in copayments that many of the other participants paid for in-person visits. Patients sent their glucose values back through text messages more than 80% of the time, suggesting that the program was not difficult to follow.
In addition, Natalie Levy, lead author of the study and head of Bellevue’s Diabetes Program, said patients who used mobile titration said they felt more in control of their diabetes and more accountable for adhering to medical advice.
According to “Future of You,” the text message intervention program soon could be implemented hospital-wide at Bellevue. In addition, Health and Hospitals Corp. — which runs Bellevue and other public hospitals in New York City — is looking to upgrade the system to send secure private health information via text message.
Levy hopes that the program can be provided on a continuing basis to a wider range of patients with diabetes (Shaikh-Lesko, “Future of You,” KQED, 8/25).