Text messages as a reminder aid and educational tool in adults and adolescents with atopic dermatitis: a pilot study

Dermatol Res Pract. 2010;2010:894258. doi: 10.1155/2010/894258. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

Abstract

Optimal management of atopic dermatitis (AD) requires patients to adhere to self-care behaviors. Technologies, such as cell phones, have been widely adopted in the USA and have potential to reinforce positive health behaviors. We conducted a pilot study with 25 adolescents and adults age 14 years and older [mean 30.5 yrs, SD 13.4] with AD. Daily text messages (TMs) that provided medication reminders and AD education were sent for six weeks to participants. Our goals were to (1) measure changes in pre- and posttest scores in treatment adherence, self-care behaviors, disease severity, and quality of life and (2) assess the usability and satisfaction of the TM system. Significant improvements in treatment adherence, self-care behaviors, skin severity, and quality of life (P ≤ .001, .002, <.001, and .014, resp.) were noted postintervention. User feedback on the TM system was positive with 88% and 92% of participants reporting that the reminder TMs and educational TMs were helpful, respectively. In conclusion, study participants were receptive to using TMs as a reminder aid and educational tool. The positive trends observed are promising and lay the ground work for further studies needed to elucidate the full potential of this simple and cost-effective intervention.