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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2009;2009:129-33. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

"It's time for your life": How should we remind patients to take medicines using short text messages?

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University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA, and.


The objective of this paper is to characterize effective patient care reminder strategies for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to improve antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence) using short message service (SMS) based on patient perspectives. We conducted a qualitative study with adult PLWHA in a community-based clinic in Lima, Peru using focus groups. 26 HIV-positive individuals participated in four focus groups (20 men, 6 women). The participants expressed positive perceptions towards receiving reminders via SMS, but specified certain characteristics they wanted them to have (such as being simple and concise). It was also important that the messages maintained confidentiality and privacy by using coded words or phrases ("Remember, it is the time of your life") instead of "sensitive" words (HIV or antiretroviral). This study suggests that patients want healthcare SMS that appropriately notify them, deliver a careful crafted message, and assess the context in which they are received.

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