Psychologists at the University of California-Berkeley found that text messages help people feel more connected and cared for and help life a person’s mood when they send or receive an SMS. UC Berkeley professor Adrian Aguilera led the study, which was published in the journal, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.
Aguilera told the UK’s Telegraph that the study originated back in 2010 when he began using text messages with patients who had depression. He sent them texts that prompted them to think about their moods and reply to positive and negative daily interactions. Aguilera said that the research provides new insights into the need for regular contact and check-ins from mental health professionals.
An article in the Wall Street Journal this week discussed how text messages between physicians and patients can help enable a more collaborative partnership. The report focuses on a new project, called the Collaborative Chronic Care Network, that currently includes participation from 6,800 patients and 33 healthcare centers.
According to the WSJ, “one of the participants is Emily Brandt, a 20-year-old student at the University of Michigan with ulcerative colitis. As part of one pilot, she gets four text messages every day asking her different questions, including whether she took her medicine and how many times she woke up in the middle of the night. Her doctor, [Dr. Jeremy Adler, a pediatric gastroenterologist], gets the results in graph form, which he and Ms. Brandt analyze together every two weeks.”
Since Dr. Adler can now see trends based on Emily’s tracking, they have been able to test out whether intravenous injections of a medication should be given more frequently or whether an improvement in symptoms during an unrelated antibiotics course might indication other means of treatment.
A study published in the Irish Medical Journal found that text messages significantly reduced non-attendance for appointments at an outpatient urology clinic in Dublin, Ireland. The study tracked missed appointments during a two year period before the introduction of text message appointment reminders and compared them to two years of data gathered while text message appointment reminders were used.
“The non-attendance rate in the two years prior to text message reminders was 17.6 percent (4,544 patients). Following the introduction of text message reminders, the overall non-attendance rate declined to 12.4 percent (3,423 patients), a reduction of 29.5 percent. The greatest improvement, a reduction in non-attendance rate of 63 percent, was seen in patients between 16 and 30 [years old].”