Text Messaging and Improved Appointment Adherence Evaluated

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SMS texting appears to result in greater ocular appointment adherence in people with diabetes, according to a randomized trial involving 233 individuals. 

Participants were scheduled for eye exams at 5 hospitals in low-income areas of Guangdong, China over a ~1 year period ending in 2016. They were randomized to receive either SMS appointment reminders 7 and 3 days prior to their appointment (n=119) or no reminders (n=114). Investigators looked at attendance within 1 week of original appointment time, as well as change in knowledge about diabetic retinopathy. Among the results:

  • 43% of patients in the intervention group attended scheduled appointments, vs 14% of controls, a significant difference. 
  • Intervention patients were more than 3 times more likely to be adherent. 
  • The intervention group was also 30% more likely to have greater knowledge about diabetic retinopathy, and 8% more likely to be satisfied. 

Chen T, Zhu W, Tang B, et al. A mobile phone informational reminder to improve eye care adherence among diabetic patient in rural china: A randomized controlled trial. Am J Ophthalmol. 2018 Oct;194:54-62.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2018.07.006

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