USC researchers are exploring ways to use mobile phones and text-messaging to improve compliance with diabetes regimens for patients seen in the emergency department at LA County + USC Medical Center.
With support from the SC CTSI, Sanjay Arora, MD, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC, and Elizabeth Burner, MD, MPH, former clinical research fellow, now assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC, developed a mobile health intervention called TExT-MED to help low-income Latinos take concrete steps to manage their diabetes, such as taking medications as prescribed, keeping medical appointments, eating appropriate foods, and engaging in physical activity.
The TExT-MED program uses a platform where inspirational or instructional messages are sent to participants twice a day. Pilot data revealed improved medication adherence among those using the TExT-MED intervention compared to controls. In a subsequent feasibility trial, the study team found promising improvements in glycemic control, exercise and self-care behaviors. Participants assigned to TExT-MED were highly satisfied with the intervention and remarkably eager to recommend the program to friends and family. Thus, TExT-MED specifically and mHealth interventions more generally may be effective in engaging hard-to-reach patients such as low income, monolingual Spanish speakers.