Daily text-message reminders have yielded a 2x improvement in adherence to a treatment regimen among subjects in a dermatology study. Those who received the texts had an average daily adherence rate of 56 percent for sunscreen application, while those who received no text messages had a 30 percent rate.
In the UC Davis study, subjects were instructed to apply sunscreen daily. Researchers say they were unsure at the outset of the six-week trial in Boston how subjects would react to the text message reminders. But the investigators were careful not to overdo it. They deliberately kept messages short enough to be read at a glance. And they changed the message daily, to prevent message fatigue among subjects.
Separately, Siamak Ashrafi is among the growing number of programmers using Google software to build open-platform apps for smartphones. He envisions such devices equipped with Google's Android operating system as personal medical assistants, programmed to remind patients taken their medication.