Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Texting (SMS) in the world of mobile health care #mHealth

Today is Day #1 of the International mHealth Networking Conference here in San Diego. As a physician champion for the HCPLive Network, I'm excited to blog about some of the highlights from this meeting. You can also follow updates about the mHealth Networking Conference on

This afternoon, I attended a session titled, "Mobile Technology and Social Media in Clinical Trials and Healthcare Programs."  The presenters were from a company called Exco InTouch (a company basked in the UK) and they reviewed a few different mHealth case studies:

Interactive SMS solution: Travel vaccinations
  • A pharmaceutical company client: GSK
  • Used SMS plus newspaper ads to educate Chicago-area consumers about travel vaccination
  • The consumer sent a text message, indicating the vacation destination. Then, the consumer received an SMS indicating where he/she could go to receive travel vaccines.
  • This generated over 3,500 inbound text messages. 50% of those who received vaccination information requested the nearest clinic location. 

SMS Engagement Campaigns
  • Primarily developed for pharmaceutical clients to improve consumer awareness about specific conditions
  • Consumers send an SMS to receive additional health information
There was another presentation titled, "SMS and Health: Review of Mobile Phone Text Messaging in Chronic Disease Management."  The presenter was Robert Furberg, Research Programmer, RTI International. There are a number of studies currently looking at how SMS may improve chronic disease management. We've seen how SMS may impact medication adherence, but there are many other aspects of disease management that go beyond medication adherence.

Given that SMS is not a secure way to message patients, health care professionals must be cautious as we explore the use of texting to communicate with patients. There are a number of companies that provide mobile secure messaging portals that allow physicians and patients to send and receive secure short messages.

I want to thank Epocrates for sponsoring these blog posts from the 2nd International mHealth Networking Conference. Epocrates, Inc. develops clinical information and decision support tools that enable healthcare professionals to find answers more quickly and confidently at the point of care.

1 comment:

  1. These are some very cool mHealth implementations you've covered in this article. It is always great to see how other companies are leveraging the exploding mobile market to benefit patient care. At Globaltel Media we have seen particular interest in SMS technologies that can simplify the appointment reminder/rescheduling process, as well as those that can help doctors share information and resources internally. As information is increasingly needed in real-time, the growth in acceptance and varying implementations of SMS technology in healthcare is sure to continue.