Evaluation of Text Messaging Effects on Health Goal Adherence in the Management of Participants With Chronic Diseases

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Abstract

Purpose of the Study:

The study purpose was to determine whether text messaging health-related messages, questions, and reminders to community case management participants with chronic diseases increased health goal adherence.

Primary Practice Setting:

This study was conducted by a rural community case management, hospital-affiliated program.

Methodology and Sample:

This pilot, quasiexperimental study measured health goal adherence, the degree to which an individual continues work toward self-identified health goals under limited supervision, before and after a text messaging intervention. All participants were receiving community case management services for chronic disease. Participants completed baseline and follow-up surveys regarding a text messaging intervention.

Results:

Most participants were African Americans, had diabetes, with equal numbers by gender, an average age of 57.8 years, and had been in the community case management program for 3–5 years. Participants were sent a total of 1,654 messages/questions and 571 reminders. At follow-up, respondents who reported “Did you work on your health goals?” increased significantly (p = .0430). However, no differences were found for “Did you go to your health care appointments?” and “Did you take your medicines as you should?” No differences were noted in reported visits/hospitalizations overall or specifically at the research site. Lastly, study member visit/hospitalization numbers did not change significantly at follow-up.

Implications for Community Case Management Practice:

Although text messaging is not meant to take the place of face-to-face interactions, it does provide community case managers with an additional modality of communication with patients to offer support and important care reminders, and to facilitate patient participation in his or her care.

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