Is diabetes management via text message practical


diabetes by text Is diabetes management via text message practicalDo you think your diabetes can be practically managed via text message?

Aside from the obvious challenge of learning of a new language otherwise known as txtese, chatspeak, txt, txtspk, txtk, txto, texting language, txt lingo, SMSish, txt talk or SMS Language.

Texting is popular means of communication but in  its core, the need to have a  short   abbreviated conversation has led to its curtailed  language and in that lies its greatest shortcoming.

I have to admit that I do text a lot  but beyond a few phrases I have never quite mastered the SMS  language and have no intention for doing so anytime soon. (Don’t despair however, studies have shown that only about 20% of those using SMS actually use txtspk)

I was recently contacted by representatives at the  Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) about a a pilot program aimed at using text messages for diabetes management.

Let me say first that I am a proponent of using any tool available in the successful management of diabetes and I am not  entirely against the text message idea  but I have this nagging feeling that  the organisations proposing this  idea are very much in need of my and your input on the best way to implement the idea to maximize its effectiveness.

At the recently concluded  Scientific Sessions the ADA, the CDC, HRSA, Beacon Communities, Voxiva and the ONC announced that they had joined forces in a mobile health (also known as mHealth) program that would focus on diabetes prevention and management via SMS text.

The program which is being launched  in Detroit and New Orleans will act as pilots to:

  • Design tools and interventions
  • Develop effective ways to use local resources
  • Connect patients with their health care team
  • Evaluate this approach to connecting at risk people with the care they need

ONC is Looking for Your Feedback

Also over the next two months, the organizations leading this initiative will be challenging the national innovation community and health care community to get on board and with this new opportunity to connect with at-risk diabetic individuals.

They want to know what are the best resources that can be offered to us?

Is it a gym membership, the latest disease management application, a web-based support group, a free clinic, or something else?

You can share your ideas on what you would like to see on this mobile app at the Health IT Buzz. The official blog of the US Dept of Human and Health Services or  Any Ideas can be emailed to Pierce Graham with the ONC at  [email protected]

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  1. I think that a lot of parents already are doing this as a way to help manage tween and teen diabetes care while still giving them a sense of freedom …or some anyways. I often text with my daughter’s nurse and teacher regarding her care for everyday things. We do call when it is an emergency but text or email that I answer via my phone are the most used forms of communication. I am a full time student so it is hard for me to just leave class to take a phone call when they are just notifying me they are treating a hi for example. Her 504 says they have to notify me over a certain number and my teachers would much rather me answer a text than have to disrupt a whole class to walk out and take a call. I think that it can be a great tool if used with caution and an actual phone call is always available to clarify anything not understood

    • Thanks for sharing Misty but I think not many people have the same relationship you have with your doctor. My pcp is always a phonecall away but most of the time I end up having to go through his call service then his nurses before I get him, No text message previleges. The relationship between a patient and their pcp depends on the doctor some will go above and beyond and some will do only the minimum for obvious reasons. The guidelines need to be set higher and if this program is successful maybe in can be incorporated in said gudlines….

      • I was not actually referring to her PCP or my PCP I was referring to her nurse at school. I know our situation is not the norm for most kids but she is fortunate enough to have an aid with her all day so the texting works. As for PCP or our endocrinologist We still have to call them and I like talking to someone if things reach the point where I need to ask for additional help from them.

  2. It is most difficult to talk to the endocrinologist during office hours. First you need to get past the nurse who will only take a message and detailed is a must. Then you need to be available to answer the phone after hours – if I receive a call. Most of the time, it means if it is am emergency – to to the emergency room or department. Then it is they handled it, seek assistance from them first. No thanks.

    I am fortunate that they do use email and do respond to these after hours. If it is an emergency (only happed once) still see the ER and good luck! Most in the ER don’t have an idea about diabetes to say nothing about treating a person with diabetes.

    Texting I’m afraid would not work in my area.

    • Thanks for sharing Bob
      I do understand the endo might be busy during office hrs, could this then be something the CDE could take over, because most of the questions i have can be answered by the CDE and if they need clarification or they cant then have the endo involved at that point. I just need better communication lines and access beyond whats available right now….

  3. I am not sure if this is practical. I would like to see a drop in clinic for diabetes management with a team on call for us all the time. Want a wound on your foot attended to, go to the clinic, having problems with your bsg, go to the clinic. Or you could just go to talk out your depression over food and diabetes generally, have a cup of coffee and meet other diabetics. Dream on, Maureen.
    Maybe the text message idea is more practical.

    • Thanks Maureen
      That is my dream as well. More and More Access and if this text message idea can do that am all for it but I am skeptical at thinking behind this idea.
      Every diagnosed PWD I know really does try to educate themselves about diabetes so a resource like finding the local pcp or gym while being helpful does not adress the bigger issue….


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