Clinical Study Finds Texting Program Works for Children with IBD

12 December 2017

A new study has shown that CareSpeak* text-message reminders help pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) take their medication on time and as prescribed. The results, published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, contribute to the mounting evidence that 2-way communication works. This intuitive approach, which has been a part of CareSpeak* from its onset, continues to show positive outcomes. The IBD patient population is yet another group that can derive benefit from these text-messaging services.

IBD is a chronic condition that requires lifelong treatment to maintain remission. But an alarming number of patients suffering from IBD don't keep up with their medication regimen. Between 43-50% of adults with IBD are non-adherent, and are 5.5 times more likely to experience a flare-up. This worsening of symptoms can result in greater healthcare costs and a poorer quality of life.

There are many reasons why some patients are non-adherent. Risk factors range from psychological distress to doctor-patient discordance, inaccurate beliefs about medicinal treatment, and peer victimization. However, the most frequently reported reason for non-adherence is forgetfulness. This is where an intuitive reminder program can be useful, if not essential, for patients with IBD to maintain remission.

A total of 51 children were randomized into the text messaging group and the control group, with 21 and 30 participants in each respectively. The text messaging group signed up for CareSpeak* Communication's program, while the control group did not. 70% of participants completed both 6 month and 12 month questionnaire for comparison.

The 2016 study found that patients who received CareSpeak* text-message reminders were able to follow their treatment regimen more strictly. The Morisky Scale, which is based on self-reported measurements, was used to gauge levels of adherence. Patients in the study were asked four questions.

  1. Do you ever forget to take your medicine?
  2. Are you careless at times about taking your medicine?
  3. When you feel better, do you sometimes stop taking your medicine?
  4. Sometimes if you feel worse when you take the medicine, do you stop taking it?

Among the low-adherence group, the Morisky score improved by 18.8% over 6 months and 25% over 12 months, in comparison to 4.8% and 4.8% among the control group. Among the mid-level adherence group, the Morisky score improved by 50% over 6 months and 50% over 12 months, in comparison to 16.7% and 16.7% among the control group. The biggest improvements were seen in the first 6 months, revealing the immediate impact of the text-message program. Patients receiving reminders scored over 4 times higher in the first 6 months, and about 3 times higher in the first 12 months.

Most current methods to improve patient adherence continue to be troublesome. While solutions like individualized therapy, improved physician-patient relationships, and self-management programs have been tested, they have yet to show satisfactory results. Text message reminders, on the other hand, are proven to be effective. They are a personal and simple way of helping patients adhere to their treatment regimens. The 2-way system is user-friendly, minimally intrusive, and adjustable. With low costs for patients and low time demands on health professionals, CareSpeak* automated texting program is a win-win for everyone.

*CareSpeak Communications is now a part of OptimizeRx Corporation, NASDAQ: OPRX



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