Mobile Future

Text messages helps transplant patients

As Washington focuses on
healthcare legislation, here’s a sobering statement from Dr. Pauline Chen,
author of the New York Times’ "Doctor & Patient" column:

"Nonadherence,
or the failure to follow medical advice, is the most important cause of
organ rejection in long-term transplant
survivors
."

Teenagers are at
especially high risk, she writes this week, citing studies suggesting that a
majority of teen liver transplants fail and that teen patients are four times
more likely than adults to take their medications at the wrong time or to forget
to take them.

So how to reach
today’s hard-to-reach teens?  Last month, researchers at researchers at
Mount Sinai Hospital in New York published a study showing the remarkable
effectiveness of texting in improving success rates among young liver transplant
patients. 

During a
year-long test, patients receiving texts were more likely to take their
medications. One result: while 12 of the young people experienced rejection
episodes in the previous year, only two did so during the
study.

The next time a text message appears on your phone, it may be your doc giving you an important
reminder.