From the Journals

Text messaging may help patients with schizophrenia



A text messaging–based mobile health (mHealth) intervention that relied on lay health supporters improved medication adherence among rural Chinese patients with schizophrenia by 27%, according to results of a study published in PLoS Medicine.

The researchers developed a mHealth protocol intervention that used text messaging and lay health supporters to help patients with schizophrenia to transition from facility-based care to community-based care. The study randomized 278 community-dwelling villagers with schizophrenia to receive care through a community-based free-medicine program either with or without support from the mHealth intervention. Among the 271 patients successfully followed, medication adherence – the primary outcome – was higher in the mHealth group than it was in the control group (adjusted mean difference, 0.12; 95% confidence interval, 0.03-0.22; P = .013). Adherence was primarily assessed by unannounced home-based pill counts.

The investigators wrote that the treatment gaps for schizophrenia in resource-poor areas remain substantial and that text messaging plus lay health support could form a simple and low-cost means of improving the situation in these settings.

SOURCE: Xu D et al. PLoS Med. 2019 Apr 23. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002785.

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