Study: Text Messaging Cost-Saving, Effective Way to Increase Patient Engagement, Improve Outcomes

The University of Chicago Medicine saw improvements in gylcemic control, user satisfaction and resource utilization after implementing a text message-based monitoring program for the organization's diabetic employees, according to an article in Health Affairs.

The organization used CareSmarts, an mHealth diabetes program that sends automated text messages to help diabetics better manage their disease. Participants received reminders to check their blood sugar or refill medications, and program nurses were available to follow up with patients based on their responses to the messages. Researches compared outcomes in the form of glycemic levels as well as cost utilization in the employees that chose to participate in the program with employees that chose not to participate.

Following the six-month intervention, control of HbA1c had improved in the experimental group, dropping from an average of 7.9 percent to 7.2 percent. Among participations with previously poorly controlled diabetes, levels dropped from 10.3 percent to 8.5 percent on average. Additionally, the number and cost of outpatient visits declined among program participants, resulting in a net cost saving of $437 per participant, or an 8.8 percent decline over pre-intervention levels. Participants also reported being highly satisfied with the text messaging program.

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