Scope and effectiveness of mobile phone messaging for HIV/AIDS care: A systematic review

a Global eHealth Unit, Department of Primary Care and Public Health , Imperial College London , London , UK.
Psychology Health and Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.26). 07/2012; 18(2). DOI: 10.1080/13548506.2012.701310
Source: PubMed


The objective of this mixed method systematic review was to assess the scope, effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility of the use of mobile phone messaging for HIV infection prevention, treatment and care. We comprehensively searched the peer-reviewed and grey literature. Two authors independently screened citations, extracted data and assessed study quality of included studies (any research design) focusing on mobile phone messaging interventions for HIV care. We present a narrative overview of the results. Twenty-one studies met the inclusion criteria: three randomized controlled trials, 11 interventional studies using other study designs and seven qualitative or cross-sectional studies. We also found six on-going trials and 21 projects. Five of the on-going trials and all the above mentioned projects took place in low or middle-income countries. Mobile phone messaging was researched for HIV prevention, appointment reminders, HIV testing reminders, medication adherence and for communication between health workers. Of the three randomized controlled trials assessing the use of short message service (SMS) to improve medication adherence, two showed positive results. Other interventional studies did not provide significant results. In conclusion, despite an extensive search we found limited evidence on the effectiveness of mobile phone messaging for HIV care. There is a need to adequately document outcomes and constraints of programs using mobile phone messaging to support HIV care to assess the impact and to focus on best practice.

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    • "Mobile phone messaging has been proposed and investigated as a method to improve medication adherence and communication in HIV management, but a systematic review published in 2013 by van Veltoven et al. examined 21 studies and determined that there is limited evidence that mobile phones are efficacious in HIV care [83]. Further studies are needed to adequately assess this topic. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the state of the art in mobile clinical and health-related apps. A 2012 estimate puts the number of health-related apps at no fewer than 40,000, as healthcare professionals and consumers continue to express concerns about the quality of many apps, calling for some form of app regulatory control or certification to be put in place. We describe the range of apps on offer as of 2013, and then present a brief survey of evaluation studies of medical and health-related apps that have been conducted to date, covering a range of clinical disciplines and topics. Our survey includes studies that highlighted risks, negative issues and worrying deficiencies in existing apps. We discuss the concept of 'apps as a medical device' and the relevant regulatory controls that apply in USA and Europe, offering examples of apps that have been formally approved using these mechanisms. We describe the online Health Apps Library run by the National Health Service in England and the calls for a vetted medical and health app store. We discuss the ingredients for successful apps beyond the rather narrow definition of 'apps as a medical device'. These ingredients cover app content quality, usability, the need to match apps to consumers' general and health literacy levels, device connectivity standards (for apps that connect to glucometers, blood pressure monitors, etc.), as well as app security and user privacy. 'Happtique Health App Certification Program' (HACP), a voluntary app certification scheme, successfully captures most of these desiderata, but is solely focused on apps targeting the US market. HACP, while very welcome, is in ways reminiscent of the early days of the Web, when many "similar" quality benchmarking tools and codes of conduct for information publishers were proposed to appraise and rate online medical and health information. It is probably impossible to rate and police every app on offer today, much like in those early days of the Web, when people quickly realised the same regarding informational Web pages. The best first line of defence was, is, and will always be to educate consumers regarding the potentially harmful content of (some) apps.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014
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    • "SMS technology and use has evolved and has expanded in multiple health-care settings, and the number of studies related to SMS interventions for STI has dramatically increased since previous reviews were done. Although the reviews by Horvath et al.[69], Chavez et al., Zou et al. and Velthoven et al.[70-72] present important findings with respect to text messaging and sexual health outcomes, they do not cover multiple efficacy and effectiveness outcomes of SMS interventions for a broad spectrum of STI prevention and control. Broad reviews such as the one by Sørensen et al.[73] and by Chavez et al.[70] on the impacts of eHealth and other digital media may be useful; however, the girth of information on non-SMS information and communication technologies often overshadows the focused questions that health providers may seek on mHealth specific interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Globally, the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STI) is rising, posing a challenge to its control and appropriate management. Text messaging has become the most common mode of communication among almost six billion mobile phone users worldwide. Text messaging can be used to remind patients about clinic appointments, to notify patients that it is time for STI re-testing, and to facilitate patient communication with their health professionals with any questions and concerns they may have about their sexual health. While there are a handful of systematic reviews published on short message service (SMS) interventions in a variety of health settings and issues, none are related to sexual health. We plan to conduct a systematic review to examine the impact text messaging might have on interventions for the prevention and care of patients with STIs. Eligible studies will include both quantitative and qualitative studies published after 1995 that discuss the efficacy and effectiveness of SMS interventions for STI prevention and management using text messaging. Data will be abstracted independently by two reviewers using a standardized pre-tested data abstraction form. Inter-rater reliability scores will be obtained to ensure consistency in the inclusion and data extraction of studies. Heterogeneity will be assessed using the I2 test and subgroup analyses. A nonhypothesis driven inductive reasoning approach as well as a coding framework will be applied to analyze qualitative studies. A meta-analysis may be conducted if sufficient quantitative studies are found using similar outcomes. For this protocol, we identified ten related systematic reviews. The reviews were limited to a particular disease or setting, were not exclusive to SMS interventions, or were out of date. This systematic review will be the first comprehensive examination of studies that discuss the effectiveness of SMS on multiple outcomes that relate to STI prevention and management, covering diverse settings and populations. Findings of the systematic review and any additional meta-analyses will be published and presented to our key knowledge users. This information will provide the evidence that is required to appropriately adopt text messaging into standard practice in STI care.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Systematic Reviews
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    • "In addition, staff working in resource-poor settings broadly support the use of mobile phone technology [22],[23]. Although there is some evidence of the use of mobile phones to improve health (mobile Health or mHealth) in resource-poor settings, there are few evaluations of the impact of mobile technology on health, with systematic reviewers calling for further evidence on this [10],[14],[24],[25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mobile technology has great potential to improve adherence and treatment outcomes in healthcare settings. However, text messaging and phone calls are unaffordable in many resource-limited areas. This study investigates the use of a no-cost alternative mobile phone technology using missed calls ('buzzing') to act as a patient reminder. The use of missed calls as a patient reminder was evaluated for feasibility and effectiveness as an appointment reminder in the follow-up of newly-diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive patients in an HIV testing and counselling department in rural Swaziland. This pilot study uses a before-and-after operational research study design, with all patients with mobile phones being offered the intervention. The primary outcome was the rate of attendance at the HIV testing and counselling department for collection of results in those with mobile phones before and after the introduction of the intervention. Over two-thirds, 71.8% (459/639), of patients had a mobile phone. All patients with a mobile phone consented to being buzzed. There was no difference in attendance for follow-up at the clinic before and after the intervention was implemented (80.1% versus 83.3%, p = 0.401), or after adjusting for confounding factors (OR 1.13, p = 0.662). This pilot study illustrates that mobile technology may be feasible in rural, resource-poor settings as there are high rates of mobile phone ownership and the intervention had a 100% uptake rate, with positive feedback from staff and patients. In this particular setting, the intervention did not improve attendance rates. However, further research is planned to investigate the impact on adherence to appointments and medications in other settings, such as HIV chronic care follow-up and as part of an enhanced package to improve adherence.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Infectious Diseases of Poverty
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