About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Managing Diabetes, One Text at a Time

When you attend as many health fairs as we do, you sometimes see screening results that are alarmingly out of range. We have protocols in place for dealing with a dangerous reading -- protocols we hope we never have to use.

In my experience at health fairs, I've encountered several people whose blood sugar was significantly high. Sometimes this is new information, but just as often, the individual is a known diabetic who isn't managing the condition properly.

We already have clients who use text messaging to communicate health tips. It's a great way to keep wellness top of mind. But a pilot program here in Washington, D.C. is taking the concept a few steps further in order to fight diabetes.

To help inner-city diabetics manage their blood sugar levels, doctors are using a cell phone-based application to track participants' glucose readings. When they enter their readings into the program, they receive personalized text messages telling them exactly what to do.

Sometimes a small reminder is all it takes to affect behavior. A 15-minute call from a health coach once a month, for example, can spur high-risk individuals to make real changes. (Stay tuned, because later this week, I plan to blog about some of our coaching successes. They're really inspiring.)

The article also mentions Text4Baby, a free service that sends government-vetted health text messages to pregnant women. They boast 50,000 subscribers, so they must be doing something right.

What do you think? Is health messaging by text the way to go, or is there another method that would work better for you? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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