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Cutting Health Care Costs with Texting

Reducing Health Care Costs with Texting

Reducing Health Care Costs with Texting
With health care premiums sky rocketing, hospitals and health care facilities are looking for ways to trim costs without compromising care. For many health care facilities using technology they can not only save money, but improve and expand on the quality of care provided and in some cases even improve patient outcomes.

Could texting be one element to curbing rising health care costs?
Believe it or not text messaging can play a critical role in reducing health care costs, take for example managing patients diagnosed with diabetes.

In the U.S. today, over 29 million people live with diabetes it is estimated diabetes accounts for a staggering $245 billion in medical care and lost wages. Diabetics can often reduce these expenses by practicing vigilant self-maintenance and a greater control of their diabetes. This of course is easier said than done.Through text messaging, clinicians and support staff can encourage more intensive diabetes self-care. Text messaging can be use to remind diabetics to measure their blood sugar and eat a healthy diet. 

Texting has had success before in the health care industry. Texting has been used in drug trials seeking to increase medication compliance, in which patients received text messages to remind them to take their medication at the appropriate time. This has significantly increased compliance rates. It seems possible that with the same approach or a similar approach diabetics will have more success in managing their diabetes.

Several studies have put this idea to the test. In a 2014 University of Chicago study, 74 patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes were enrolled in a six-month pilot program. Participants received daily text messages reminding them to check their blood sugar, as well as educational texts about nutrition along with exercise advice.

After six months of the program, patients in the study showed better glycemic control than those not participating in the study. While the sampling is small, there is the suggestion that the program had had a positive impact. Controlling blood sugar, will control medical costs, reducing costly hospital admissions and chronic health issues related to unmanaged blood sugar.

It makes sense that text messaging can be used as a tool to reduce healthcare costs, without compromising care, in fact in many cases the use of text messaging may result in better patient outcomes. 

Article Date: June 6, 2022

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