Not 2 old 2 TXT : There is potential to use email and SMS text message healthcare reminders for rheumatology patients up to 65 years old
Short message service (SMS) and email reminders have the potential to improve adherence to appointments and medication taking. Within the UK, information and communication technology (ICT) is widely used with a very high proportion of people having access to the internet and mobile phones. Little is known about ICT use by older adults and those with chronic illness. A feasibility survey was carried out with 112 rheumatology patients in Hertfordshire, UK to determine their current use of the internet, email and SMS and their willingness to receive electronic reminders in the future. A high proportion of patients up to age 65 are successfully using ICT despite older age or functional disability caused by rheumatic disease. Forty-four percent would be willing to receive an electronic appointment reminder and 25% a medication reminder. The results suggest that reminders would be welcomed by some patients and extensive patient training would not be needed before implementation.