Mobile phone text messaging in improving glycaemic control for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Published:February 26, 2019DOI:



      Mobile health is the use of mobile technology in developing healthcare, with the aim of reminding and motivating patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle. We conducted a systematic review assessing the effectiveness of text-messaging interventions on HbA1c in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).


      Two authors independently searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Register of Randomized Control Trials and PsychInfo. The review included randomized control trials with at least 4 weeks follow up, evaluating the effect of text messaging on HbA1c, in patients with T2DM. Trials involving participants with Type 1 diabetes mellitus, pre-diabetes or gestational diabetes, or other forms of telemedicine were excluded. Studies employing bi-directional messaging were excluded.


      208 papers were identified as meeting inclusion criteria and their abstracts reviewed. Of these, we examined the full text article of forty-four studies. Eleven randomized controlled trials were included in the final review, with a total of 1710 participants. One study focused on medication adherence only, while the remaining had educational and motivational messages. Five studies showed a significant improvement in HbA1c with the intervention. The remaining studies demonstrated a trend to improvement in HbA1c. Our meta-analysis on 9 of the 11 studies found an overall reduction in HbA1c of 0.38% (−0.53; −0.23, p-value <0.001).


      Lifestyle-focused text messaging is a low cost initiative aimed at motivating patients with T2DM to adhere to a healthy lifestyle. We demonstrate that lifestyle focused text messaging is effective, with a significant improvement in HbA1c in the meta-analysis.


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