Evaluating the Effect of Using Mobile Phone Reminders on the Adherence to Children and Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes Attending Outreach Appointments

Arsene Florent Hobabagabo, Rex Wong, Soha El-Halabi, Edison Rwagasore, Simon-Pierre Niyonsenga, Crispin Gishoma, Etienne Uwingabire, Alvera Mukamazimpaka, Ziad El-Khatib


Effective management of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) requires that people living with the condition attend regular clinical visits. The Rwanda Diabetes Association (RDA) asks young T1DM patients to attend quarterly outreach visits, and prior to the visits, RDA issues reminders via local radio stations. However, adherence in attending clinical appointments has remained low.

Since Rwanda has a high mobile phone penetration rate, a pilot intervention study was conducted exploring the use of mobile phone call reminders and Short Message Service (SMS) messages to increase T1DM patients’ attendance of RDA’s quarterly outreach visits. The control group was exposed to only the regular radio broadcast, while the intervention group received reminder phone calls or SMS messages 72 hours prior to their appointments in addition to the regular radio broadcast.

The attendance rate was significantly different between the 14 control patients and 35 intervention patients, with 23.3% (3/14) and 76.7% (27/35) attending visits, respectively (P=0.048).

The results suggest that using mHealth methods (phone call/SMS reminders) can be effective in improving health outcomes, improving the adherence of T1DM patients to follow-up visits with minimal added cost. The total cost was 0.37 USD per person, compared to potential 672.40 USD for each lost treatment, indicating the intervention is cost-effective in that it minimizes loss to follow up in resource-limited settings. Further research is needed to evaluate the feasibility of scaling up the pilot project and to understand whether improved attendance is sustained long-term.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jms.v10n2p60

Journal of Management and Strategy
ISSN 1923-3965 (Print)   ISSN 1923-3973 (Online)


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