A conference is going on in DC this week that is investigating the potential of mobile technologies and health service delivery in the developing world – aka mhealth. This concept has been much hyped and discussed for many years. It is well known that the take-up of mobile phones has been phenomenal across the developing world and the availability of this technology has been seen as a potential platform to help delivery additional health information and education to patients. But does it work?
A new paper in the Lancet investigates the potential of short messaging service (SMS) to increase adherence to antiretroviral therapies in Kenya. New ART patients presenting at clinics in Kenya were randomized to receive weekly reminders from nurses to take their medications. The patients were required to reply to the nurses.
The study did find significantly higher rates of reported adherence and significantly higher levels of viral suppression among those receiving the SMS messages. Both too really good pieces of news. On the negative side, neither arm of the study showed particularly high levels of adherence and both arms suffered relatively high levels of attrition. So while it helps, it does not necessarily solve the problems of adherence or attrition.
SMS technology is relatively cheap and the findings of these study show that the use of this technology has the potential to be an important complement to existing efforts to promote health education and proper use of health services in developing countries…. L8RShare on Facebook