Title : Utilization of Short Message Service and the impact on Mobile Health Clinic follow up rates
Purpose/Aims: The purpose of this study is to explore whether Mobile Health Clinic (MHC) participants that utilize Short Message Service (SMS) are more likely to adhere to follow-up appointments than individuals that do not utilize SMS. As well as determine if MHC participants with higher adherence rates perceive better health outcomes.
Research Questions: Is there a relationship between SMS utilization and follow-up appointment adherence? Do MHC participants with higher follow-up adherence perceive better health outcomes?
Significance: Fragmentation in care, resulting from noncompliance with referral and follow-up appointments, represents a significant barrier in achieving access to preventative care, improved health outcomes, and reduction in healthcare costs. MHC participants continue to experience fragmentation in care, despite increased access to healthcare services provided by programs and interventions. Findings from this study may provide insight on the effect of Mobile technology on follow-up adherence rates in underserved populations, which will increase access to routine and preventative care, manage acute and chronic illnesses, and improve the health outcomes of MHC participants.
Methods: This intervention is a randomized control trial occurring in a local MHC that services homeless and transient populations in the Hampton Roads Community of Virginia. Participants will include English-speaking, MHC participants age 18-99 that require follow-up appointments and have access to a mobile device. All participants will be required to complete two demographic surveys, informed consent, and be assigned an identifying number. Participants will be randomized into two groups of 25 participants. Over the course of the study, the control group will receive follow-up appointment information via discharge paperwork. The interventions group will receive a SMS reminder of appointment date, time, location, and contact information for further inquiries via a HIPPA compliant SMS application. Upon completion of their follow-up visit, participants will complete the PROMIS Scale v1.2-Global Health Score to evaluate their perceived health outcomes.
Findings: This research is ongoing as a part of the successful completion of Old Dominion University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program. Findings will be available by March 2020. However, a difference in adherence to follow-up appointments and improvement in patient’s perception of health outcomes is expected.
Discussion: The proposed study will evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention that will promote follow-up appointment adherence in MHC participants. Perceptions on utilization of a reminder system to increase follow-up adherence for homeless, uninsured, and underserved populations have been well documented. Success utilizing mobile technology and SMS has been demonstrated in other healthcare arenas; however, the effectiveness of this type of intervention remains unexamined in a MHC setting. Providing reminders via SMS, may significantly improve adherence to follow-up appointments to improve overall patient outcomes for MHC participant. Research regarding this intervention in MHC settings is still needed.