A review of the use of mobile phone text messaging in clinical and healthy behaviour interventions

J Telemed Telecare. 2011;17(1):41-8. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2010.100322. Epub 2010 Nov 19.


We reviewed the literature on the use of text messaging for clinical and healthy behaviour interventions. Electronic databases were searched in December 2009 using keywords related to text messaging and health interventions. The final review included 24 articles. Of those, seven covered medication adherence, eight discussed clinical management and nine reported on health-related behaviour modification. Sixteen were randomized controlled trials (RCT), five were non-controlled pre-post comparison studies and three were feasibility pilots not reporting a behavioural outcome. The frequency of messaging ranged from multiple messages daily to one message per month. Among the 16 RCTs, 10 reported significant improvement with interventions and six reported differences suggesting positive trends. Text messaging received good acceptance and showed early efficacy in most studies. However, the evidence base is compromised by methodological limitations and is not yet conclusive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Reduction Behavior