How medical practitioners can use SMS

Two new studies are showing how text messaging services can be beneficial in the medical field.

An article published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing reported that medication adherence can be improved by up to 18 percent by using text message reminders. The report, compiled by Tracy DeKoekkoek, R.N. and her team at Michigan State University, took data from 13 separate studies on the same matter. The studies focused on prescribed oral medication and tested various types of text messaging, including standardized reminders, those tailored to the patient, both one- and two-way communication and those timed specifically to the patients needs.

No mater what the testing method, text messaging improved adherence by anywhere from 15.3 percent to 17.8 percent. DeKoekkoek noted that, where these initial tests were positive, more should be done in the field.

"This review established a scientific basis for text messages as an intervention to improve medication adherence across multiple diseases. Future large rigorous randomized trials are needed to further test text messaging interventions," she wrote.

Another study went even further, saying that text messages can act as pain relievers. Jamie Guillory, a scientist at the research institute RTI International, set out to test if supportive text messages sent during treatment would reduce perception of pain in recovering patients. 

Guillory tested 68 people, both men and women in various age ranges and demographics, for four weeks by sending them text messages during their treatment and then having the patient record their pain levels on their smartphone. What Guillory found was that these messages had a positive psychological affect on the patients and effectively reduced their pain.

"The social support intervention reduced perceptions of pain and pain interference and improved positive affect for chronic non-cancer pain patients assigned to the intervention condition in comparison with controls," Guillory wrote. 

Medical practitioners looking to use bulk SMS to help their patients can utilize Swift SMS Gateway's SMS API.