Adaptive Text Messaging as an Adjunct to Clinical Care

A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research described a study that was conducted in families with a preschool-aged child recently diagnosed as overweight or obese by their primary care provider. Parents were coached on skills to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors using cognitive behavior therapy. All of the skills were supported using tailored, adaptive text messaging. The novel feature of this program is that the parents helped to create messages that “spoke to them.” Using an automated software application messages were delivered based on desired content, timing, and frequency to support behavior change or skills practice at home.

Results a significant increase in parental beliefs in their ability to engage in healthy lifestyles and self-reported healthy lifestyle behaviors. Furthermore, all parents reported the program as being useful, and indicated a desire to have their pediatric primary care incorporate the text messaging as an additional form of communication.

JMIR Vol 4, No 1 (2016): Jan-Mar