A Text Messaging Intervention With Financial Incentive For Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D) have higher hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) levels than others. In general, adolescents engage with text messaging (TM) and financial incentives, both associated with improved diabetes outcomes. This study aimed to assess the impact of a TM intervention with financial incentives on self-care behaviors and HbA1c.

Methods: A six-month randomized controlled trial compared MyDiaText™, a TM education and support application, with standard care. The sample included 166 teens with T1D, 12-18 years old, attending a diabetes clinic. The intervention group received one daily TM and were instructed to respond. Participants who responded to TMs for the most consecutive days were eligible for a financial reward biweekly via lottery. All participants received prompts to complete the self-care inventory (SCI) at baseline, 90, and 180 days. HbA1c was collected at clinic visits. Changes in SCI and HbA1c were analyzed using a multilevel mixed-effects linear regression model. Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were performed.

Results: The median TM response rate was 59% (interquartile range 40.1%-85.2%) and decreased over time. After adjustment for baseline characteristics, in per-protocol analysis, there was a statistically significant difference in SCI score increase in those receiving one TM per day vs control (P = .035). HbA1c decreased overall, without significant difference between groups (P = .786).

Conclusions: A TM intervention with financial incentives for adolescents with T1D in suboptimal control was associated with increasing self-care report; however, glycemic control did not differ from controls. Further research is needed to develop digital health interventions that will impact glycemic control.