Nationwide Children's sees higher testing, medication adherence with texting to teen diabetics

If any age group has shown a clear preference for texting, it's teenagers--half of whom reportedly send more than 1,500 text messages a month. So it makes sense that SMS might be a great way to remind teens with diabetes to check their blood sugar and take their insulin.

That's the attitude Dr. Jennifer Dyer, an endocrinologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, has taken. Dyer has just wrapped up a small pilot test among diabetic teens that found that those receiving text reminders were three times less likely to miss a dose of insulin. Prior to the start of the three-month test, adolescent patients were missing nine to 11 boluses--insulin treatments--per week.

The number dwindled to three or four among study participants.Text messages included personalized questions about eating habits and blood-glucose trends, reminders to test blood sugar and messages of support. "This form of communication allows for real-time health management which is extremely valuable for patients that suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes," Dyer says in a hospital statement.

With the promising early results, Dyer has applied for grant funding to expand the pilot and to test an iPhone app that she has developed, Healthcare IT News reports.

To learn more:
- read this Healthcare IT News story
- take a look this Nationwide Children's Hospital press release
- watch this video from Nationwide Children's Hospital