Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SMS (text messages) and medication adherence in HIV

A few weeks ago, The Lancet published an article titled, "Effects of a mobile phone short message service on antiretroviral treatment adherence in Kenya (WelTel Kenya1): a randomised trial." In summary, the investigators wanted to know whether SMS intervention would improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV patients living in Kenya. What was the outcome?
Patients who received SMS support had significantly improved ART adherence and rates of viral suppression compared with the control individuals. Adherence to ART was reported in 168 of 273 patients receiving the SMS intervention compared with 132 of 265 in the control group. Suppressed viral loads were reported in 156 of 273 patients in the SMS group and 128 of 265 in the control group.
It seem like mobile health initiatives will be more fruitful in developing nations. Here in the United States, we're flooded with too much information. A text message can easily get lost in the shuffle of a busy day. However, if you're living in Kenya, that single text message could be a life-saving reminder.

Effects of a mobile phone short message service on antiretroviral treatment adherence in Kenya (WelTel Kenya1): a randomised trial
Dr Richard T Lester MD,Paul Ritvo PhD,Edward J Mills PhD,Antony Kariri BSc,Sarah Karanja BSc,Michael H Chung MD,William Jack DPhil,James Habyarimana PhD,Mohsen Sadatsafavi MD,Mehdi Najafzadeh MSc,Carlo A Marra PharmD,Benson Estambale MBChB,Elizabeth Ngugi PhD,T Blake Ball PhD,Lehana Thabane PhD,Lawrence J Gelmon MD,Joshua Kimani MBChB,Marta Ackers MD,Prof Francis A Plummer MD
The Lancet - 10 November 2010
DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61997-6

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