Texting can help patients stick to prescription routines

Text messaging can help patients adhere to prescribed medication while saving health payers and government healthcare organizations millions of dollars spent on treating preventable health issues and wasted medicine, according to a report at Medical Daily.

A study conducted by Queen Mary University of London reveals texting can help one of every six patients from forgetting to take needed medicine or stopping prescribed treatment.

"An important and overlooked problem in medicine is the failure to take prescribed medication," Professor David Wald, consultant cardiologist and lead author, says in the report. "The results of this trial show that text message reminders help prevent this in a simple and effective way." According to Medical Daily, a third of United Kingdom citizens do not adhere to prescriptions, which costs the national healthcare agency $781,570,000 in wasted medicine and costs in treating health complications.

A similar study, "Use of Mobile Phone Text Message Reminders in Health Care Services: A Narrative Literature Review," illustrates texting to be a beneficial mHealth tool, FierceMobileHealthcare recently reported. Improved outcomes in patient care were noted in 77 percent of studies regarding the use of text to remind patients about medication intake, appointments and lifestyle reminders.

Another study, on mHealth's potential to help homeless veterans, reports messaging could prove beneficial in helping ex-military personnel with healthcare needs.

The Queen Mary University research effort involved 303 participants split into two groups: one group was sent texts inquiring about medication intake every day for two weeks, then every other day for a two-week period and then weekly for a six-month timeframe; the second group did not receive any text messages.

Results showed 25 percent of those who did not receive tests had completely stopped medication or took less than four fifths of a prescription compared to 9 percent in the texting group.

"The health implications of these results are considerable from both an economic and a health gain perspective," David Taylor, emeritus professor of Pharmaceutical and Public Health Policy at University College London told Medical Daily. "The method is not limited to cardiovascular disease prevention and could be used for patients on treatment for other chronic diseases."

For more information:
- read the Medical Daily article

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