Teen texting habits have been utilized by scientists to increase medication compliance in adolescent diabetes patients.
Jennifer Dyer, MD, MPH, an endocrinologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, has developed and completed a pilot study that uses weekly, customized text messages to remind adolescent diabetes patients about their personal treatment activities.
At the conclusion of the study, Dyer found an increase in overall treatment adherence and improved blood glucose levels.
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.
"If adolescent diabetes patients do not adhere to their treatment and medication plan, it can result in difficulty concentrating in school or functioning throughout the day," said Dr. Dyer, also an assistant professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
"Excellent control and treatment can have a long term positive effect on a patient with diabetes."
Studies have shown that adolescent patients have a greater difficulty adhering to treatment and medication activities than adults. Thus, there is a significant correlation between increased independence and decreased treatment adherence in adolescents.
The rate of medication non-adherence among adolescent recipients is approximately four times higher than that among adult recipients.
"This form of communication allows for real-time health management which is extremely valuable for patients that suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes," said Dr. Dyer, also a principal investigator in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.