SMS mammogram reminders could save livesTopic: Industry News
According to Breastscreen Victoria, only 55% of Victorian women aged 50-69 are taking up the opportunity to have a free screening mammogram every 2 years. This low rate of participation is surprising given that it is estimated by the Breast Cancer Network Australia that in 2015, 15,600 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
With breast cancer posing such a threat to Australian women’s health, and mammograms being a key preventative measure, it’s hard to imagine what could be stopping the other 45% of Victorian women from participating.Evidence shows that GPs are very influential when encouraging patients and a simple reminder is likely to assist in promoting mammography. This reminder can be automatically scheduled via SMS. With text message support from GPs and awareness groups, more cases of breast cancer could be caught earlier.Not only is SMS a ubiquitous medium which can allow access to any woman with a mobile device, it has actually proved a very successful means of reminding busy people about the importance of taking these health measures.A trial was conducted in 2010 among women aged between 40 and 75, whose mobile phone numbers were available in their electronic medical records, and who did not do a mammogram in the past 2 years. The sample was randomly divided into two subgroups. The first subgroup received a general SMS inviting its members to do a mammogram, while the second subgroup received an additional informative SMS about the benefits of mammogram screening. Both groups saw enormous success, with 30.7% of subgroup 1 and 31.6% of subgroup 2 undergoing a mammogram screening test during the next 6 months.When breast cancer isn’t detected early, the financial costs of treatment can escalate, and the risk of treatment being unsuccessful or the cancer returning is heightened. If more GPs start to implement SMS strategies to remind women about the importance of mammograms, the results could be life-saving.If you are a GP and want to learn how to use text messaging to encourage your patients to undergo mammograms, give us a call on 1300 764 946 or take a free trial today!