Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 21, 2013

Text Messaging Program Developed to Educate Mexican Women about Gestational Diabetes

Project HOPE and Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation have teamed up to implement a text messaging program in Mexico City that will help educate low-income pregnant women and new mothers about gestational diabetes.

The program, created by Project HOPE and funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, is called “Using Mobile Technology for Diabetes Management Among High Risk Mothers in Mexico.” The program will send women text messages about ways to prevent and manage gestational diabetes mellitus, a condition that affects as high as 18 percent of pregnant women in Mexico and can cause the onset of Type 2 diabetes in 30 to 60 percent of women with GDM.

Text messages will feature information about medication and treatments for gestational diabetes, advice regarding diet and exercise, and reminders about follow-up clinic visits.

“This innovative program will provide the timely diabetes education and support that pregnant women and new mothers need to maintain their own healthy and the health of their child,” John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, said in a statement.

Educating pregnant Mexican women about gestational diabetes through mobile communication was deemed the perfect method by Project HOPE, since 85 percent are known to own and use a mobile device every day.

“With mobile phones literally at the fingertips of many pregnant women and new moms at risk of gestational diabetes, they are a powerful tool for teaching women how to avoid and care for the illness,” Paul Madden, senior advisor for non-communicable diseases at Project HOPE, said in a statement.

This is not the first time mobile communication has been used to help diabetes patients learn about and better manage the disease. The University of Chicago recently launched a text message-based program for its employees and staff that have diabetes called Care Smarts. The program sends diabetes patients text messages consisting of educational diabetes facts, exercise tips, glucose management information and daily remainders regarding medication.

Additionally, mobile health services provider Voxiva has a diabetes self-managements program called Care4Life, which currently provides healthy recipes, nutrition tips, exercise and disease management information from numerous American Diabetes Association publications in the form of text messages and a mobile website.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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