First up in the nursing news this week is a look at a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association that shows that regular text messaging could have a positive effect on our patients’ health and wellness. The study looked at a group of cardiac patients who had smartphones.
Telehealth Via Smartphone Health Message
Over the course of the five-week study, researchers used text messaging to the smartphones, coupled with a fitness-tracking smartphone health app, to study the effect of these reminders on patients’ exercise levels. Goals were set to increase steps to 10,000 per day.
The fitness tracking apps sent data back to the research team and selected members of the study group were subsequently sent encouraging text messages praising them when they reached their goal or encouraging them along the way to their daily goal. The participants typically received three texts per day.
Exercise Levels Increased With Text Messages
The study group who received text messages walked an average of 2,334 more steps per day than the control group who did not receive the helpful messages. The texted participants also saw an increase in aerobic exercise of over 160% which was beyond the scope of the simple walking goal.
While the trial had a relatively small study group and further study is needed, I think this underlines the simple types of interventions we can use in our connected age to help our patients maintain and improve their wellness levels. Since most of these efforts would fall to nurses and other health staff members rather than the physicians themselves, I think that this research is something that should be done to determine if only messages from the doctor work or if messaging from nurses is as effective or even better. I urge one of you to take up the ball in this one and see what you can do to improve on this study.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Cervical Health and Screening and Episode 378.