News Feature | July 17, 2014

Text Message Program Shows Positive Results For Medicaid Users

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Appointment Healthcare Text Message Program

A randomized trial program has shown that text messaging improves adherence to both appointments and medications for participating Medicaid patients.

A text message trial program at Montefiore Medical Center has proven to improve adherence to both appointments and medications. According to MobiHealth News, Sense Health and Montefiore Medical Center recently teamed up to test Sense Health’s customizable text messaging intended for providers with a large number of Medicaid patients to manage.

"Our goal was to understand whether mobile technology would help our care managers provide more consistent and efficient support and quality care for our Medicaid patients," said Donald A. Bux, Ph.D., director, Behavioral Healthcare Management, University Behavioral Associates in a press release. "At first we were concerned that mobile technology might feel impersonal and lead to a disconnect, but we were pleasantly surprised by how well received the program was by our patients and care managers. Not only did clients using Sense Health report more engagement in their care plans, but patients and their care managers also reported greater ease in connecting with each other."

The system resulted in a 40 percent improvement to appointment adherence. Also, between the control and experiment groups adherence to medications increased by 12 percent and adherence to care plan goals increased by 7 percent.

"Prior to helping people take their medications more consistently or attend their appointments more frequently, it's critical to ensure they feel sufficiently motivated, knowledgeable and confident to actually take all of the necessary actions to improve their health," said Dr. Fred Muench of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Sense Health advisor. "Technologies like Sense Health that combine tailored health interventions with the support and accountability of care managers take us one step closer to impacting the complex behavioral side of encouraging people to better manage their health."

They found that patients using Sense Health’s technology were 21 percent more motivated, 26 percent more confident, and 22 percent more knowledgeable about the lifestyle changes recommended for their health, than the patients in the control group.

"In the patient engagement arena, quantifying engagement in a meaningful way is a challenge in and of itself," says Stan Berkow, co-founder and CEO of Sense Health. "We're thrilled not only to have quantified key patient engagement outcomes, but to have demonstrated significant improvements in those critical areas with our platform."