Mobile text messaging for health: a systematic review of reviews

Annu Rev Public Health. 2015 Mar 18;36:393-415. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031914-122855.

Abstract

The aim of this systematic review of reviews is to identify mobile text-messaging interventions designed for health improvement and behavior change and to derive recommendations for practice. We have compiled and reviewed existing systematic research reviews and meta-analyses to organize and summarize the text-messaging intervention evidence base, identify best-practice recommendations based on findings from multiple reviews, and explore implications for future research. Our review found that the majority of published text-messaging interventions were effective when addressing diabetes self-management, weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, and medication adherence for antiretroviral therapy. However, we found limited evidence across the population of studies and reviews to inform recommended intervention characteristics. Although strong evidence supports the value of integrating text-messaging interventions into public health practice, additional research is needed to establish longer-term intervention effects, identify recommended intervention characteristics, and explore issues of cost-effectiveness.

Keywords: SMS; cell phone; cellular phone; mHealth; short message service; smartphone; text-messaging interventions; texting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Program Evaluation
  • Text Messaging*
  • Weight Reduction Programs / methods