Partners Healthcare’s Center won a research grant to pilot a text messaging program aimed at helping diabetic patients manage their condition.
The grant, provided by McKesson, was awarded to the hospital system’s Center for Connected Health.
The program, called Mobilizing for Health, targets under-served patients to study whether personalized text messages have an impact on clinical outcomes and physical activity in people with Type II diabetes, who are often obese and have low activity levels.
"The use of mobile phones in healthcare seems very promising, especially in low-income populations with chronic diseases, but we need to better understand what works before these interventions can be scaled," McKesson Foundation president Carrie Varoquiers said in prepared remarks.
The text messages will include coaching, reminders and motivational messages to help patients be active and self-manage their diabetes. The level of messaging will be personalized to each patient’s stage of behavior change and willingness to change.
Patients in the program will be given pedometers to monitor changes in physical activity spurred by the text messages.
"By adding two key connected health cornerstones – objective data collection and targeted personalized feedback – we believe that patients will adopt new behaviors sooner and maintain healthy behavior for longer," Center for Connected Health lead research scientist Dr. Kamal Jethwani said in a press release. "And, because text messaging is a low cost, widely available technology, we hope to improve the overall quality of diabetes
management for a larger pool of patients."
The Center plans to integrate text messaging into existing diabetic educational programs at three of Massachusetts General Hospital’s community health care centers serving low-income populations in Boston.
The amount of the grant was not made public.
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