Objectives: To investigate the acceptability and feasibility of using short message services (SMS) via cell phones to ensure adherence to management prescriptions by diabetic patients.
Methods: Type 2 diabetic patients with 5 or more years of diabetes and having HbA1c between 7.0% to 10% were randomized to the control arm (n = 105) to receive standard care and to the intervention arm (SMS, n = 110). Messages in English on principles of diabetes management were sent once in 3 days, the contents and frequencies varied as per the patients' preferences. The study duration was 1 year. All participants were advised to report for quarterly clinic visits. A comparative assessment of the clinical, biochemical and anthropometric outcomes was made among the groups at the annual visit.
Results: Annual review was possible in 71% of intervention group and 63% of control group. SMS was acceptable to the patients and the median number requested was 2 per week. HbA1c and plasma lipids improved significantly in the SMS group.
Conclusions: The pilot study showed that frequent communication via SMS was acceptable to diabetic patients and it helped to improve the health outcomes.