Text reminders to take medications?

How do you remember to take your medication?  Have you been on a prescription so long that it just comes naturally, or do you have a little alarm set on your watch to remind you? 

What if your doctor sent you a text message to remind you?  Would you like it, or is it more of a bother?  A new study shows text reminders are helping people stick to their medication.

The 411 on medical texting
Johns Hopkins Children’s Center pediatrician Delphine Robotham believes this new technology fits in the lives of many patients, and can improve outcomes of patients that need to take a regular routine of medication to overcome a medical bump in the road.

“For better or worse, this technology is here, and sending a text to a patient’s cell phone about an upcoming appointment or a test or simply to remind them to take their meds is a great example of how we can harness new communication technology for a greater good.”

The proof is in the text
Everyone has a busy life, and many of us use our phone to keep our lives organized, or at least somewhat.  Our dependency on technology is exactly what doctors are counting on as they send a reminder to your phone.  Studies show these quick reminders are actually making a difference.

“For example, one study involving children with diabetes showed improved blood glucose testing rates. These children were also more likely to share their blood glucose test readings with their doctor’s office. In another study, patients on immunosuppressive drugs after a liver transplant had improved medication adherence. The liver study detected measurable clinical benefits from text-messaging: Acute liver rejection episodes dropped dramatically as a result of better medication adherence,” a press release from Johns Hopkins said.

The future
Doctors say patients should be able to opt into this kind of program, but eventually texting could be used to remind people of follow-up visits, to schedule appointments, and for medication reminders.  Doctors are also embracing social media to reach patients.

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