Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 11(2):99-106, 2009. Paper Website abstract bibtex
BACKGROUND: Cell phone text messaging, via the Short Messaging Service (SMS), offers the promise of a highly portable, well-accepted, and inexpensive modality for engaging youth and young adults in the management of their diabetes. This pilot and feasibility study compared two-way SMS cell phone messaging with e-mail reminders that were directed at encouraging blood glucose (BG) monitoring. METHODS: Forty insulin-treated adolescents and young adults with diabetes were randomized to receive electronic reminders to check their BG levels via cell phone text messaging or e-mail reminders for a 3-month pilot study. Electronic messages were automatically generated, and participant replies with BG results were processed by the locally developed Computerized Automated Reminder Diabetes System (CARDS). Participants set their schedule for reminders on the secure CARDS website where they could also enter and review BG data. RESULTS: Of the 40 participants, 22 were randomized to receive cell phone text message reminders and 18 to receive e-mail reminders; 18 in the cell phone group and 11 in the e-mail group used the system. Compared to the e-mail group, users in the cell phone group received more reminders (180.4 vs. 106.6 per user) and responded with BG results significantly more often (30.0 vs. 6.9 per user, P = 0.04). During the first month cell phone users submitted twice as many BGs as e-mail users (27.2 vs. 13.8 per user); by month 3, usage waned. CONCLUSIONS: Cell phone text messaging to promote BG monitoring is a viable and acceptable option in adolescents and young adults with diabetes. However, maintaining interest levels for prolonged intervals remains a challenge.