JMIR Publications

Journal of Medical Internet Research


Citing this Article

Right click to copy or hit: ctrl+c (cmd+c on mac)

Published on 17.10.14 in Vol 16, No 10 (2014): October

This paper is in the following e-collection/theme issue:

    Original Paper

    Use of Mobile Phone Text Message Reminders in Health Care Services: A Narrative Literature Review

    1Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

    2Satakunta Hospital District, Pori, Finland

    3Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland

    Corresponding Author:

    Kati Anneli Kannisto, BNSc

    Department of Nursing Science

    University of Turku

    Lemminkäisenkatu 1

    Turku, 20014


    Phone: 358 50 5312652

    Fax:358 2 3338400



    Background: Mobile text messages are a widely recognized communication method in societies, as the global penetration of the technology approaches 100% worldwide. Systematic knowledge is still lacking on how the mobile telephone text messaging (short message service, SMS) has been used in health care services.

    Objective: This study aims to review the literature on the use of mobile phone text message reminders in health care.

    Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review of studies on mobile telephone text message reminders. The data sources used were PubMed (MEDLINE), CINAHL, Proquest Databases/ PsycINFO, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and hand searching since 2003. Studies reporting the use of SMS intended to remind patients in health services were included. Given the heterogeneity in the studies, descriptive characteristics, purpose of the study, response rates, description of the intervention, dose and timing, instruments, outcome measures, and outcome data from the studies were synthesized using a narrative approach.

    Results: From 911 initial citations, 60 studies were included in the review. The studies reported a variety of use for SMS. Mobile telephone text message reminders were used as the only intervention in 73% (44/60) of the studies, and in 27% (16/60) of the remaining studies, SMS was connected to another comprehensive health intervention system. SMS reminders were sent to different patient groups: patients with HIV/AIDS (15%, 9/60) and diabetes (13%, 8/60) being the most common groups. The response rates of the studies varied from 22-100%. Typically, the text message reminders were sent daily. The time before the specific intervention to be rendered varied from 10 minutes (eg, medication taken) to 2 weeks (eg, scheduled appointment). A wide range of different evaluation methods and outcomes were used to assess the impact of SMS varying from existing databases (eg, attendance rate based on medical records), questionnaires, and physiological measures. About three quarters of the studies (77%, 46/60) reported improved outcomes: adherence to medication or to treatment reportedly improved in 40% (24/60) of the studies, appointment attendance in 18% (11/60) of the studies, and non-attendance rates decreased in 18% (11/60) of the studies. Other positive impacts were decreased amount of missed medication doses, more positive attitudes towards medication, and reductions in treatment interruptions.

    Conclusions: We can conclude that although SMS reminders are used with different patient groups in health care, SMS is less systematically studied with randomized controlled trial study design. Although the amount of evidence for SMS application recommendations is still limited, having 77% (46/60) of the studies showing improved outcomes may indicate its use in health care settings. However, more well-conducted SMS studies are still needed.

    J Med Internet Res 2014;16(10):e222




    With more than 6.8 billion mobile phone users and mobile phone technology penetration near 100% worldwide, mobile technology and text messages have changed communication between people [1] and increased the use of this technology in health care services [2]. Mobile phones are used in low-income countries [3,4] and in most social groups [2] including patients with psychiatric problems [5]. Due to its low costs, quick delivery [2], safety issues [6], and reduced intrusiveness compared to phone calls [5], mobile technology has been favored in various contexts and is recommended in a variety of strategies [7,8] and guidelines [9,10]. However, implementing new interventions requires continuous education and training among staff members [11].

    The use of text messaging (short message service, SMS) applications for behavioral change is at an early stage of research [3]. Systematic reviews have already been conducted in this area, although discrepancies between the results of the previous reviews can be found. Previous reviews have shown that SMS reminders had a positive impact on patient appointment attendance [12], adherence to chronic medication [13] and to antiretroviral therapy [14], patient self-management [15] or health outcomes, and care processes [16]. On the contrary, Gurol-Urganci et al [17] found very limited evidence that communicating results of medical investigations by SMS would be useful. Kauppi et al [18] as well did not find clear evidence that information and communication technology (ICT)-based prompting (like SMS) would improve medication adherence with people with serious mental illness. However, little is known about which specific patient groups SMS reminders have been used for in health care. To form a more coherent picture of how SMS reminders have been used in clinical practice and to provide a more thorough understanding of the knowledge accumulated in the area, it is important to figure out the context, situations, and audience for past text message reminder use and the possible benefits to patients. Therefore, this review aims to synthesize studies investigating the use of mobile phone text message reminders in health care. The review was guided by the following questions: (1) What purposes have text message reminders been used for in health care?, (2) How have the impacts of text message reminders been assessed?, and (3) What are the impacts of using text messages as reminders in health care?



    A systematic review design with narrative methods was used. More precisely, a review methodology [19] was conducted to form a conception of the use of mobile phone text messages as reminders in health care.

    Search Strategy

    We conducted a comprehensive literature search on February 21, 2013. The following electronic databases were searched with the help of an information specialist at the Medical Library: PubMed (MEDLINE), CINAHL, Proquest Databases/ PsycINFO, Embase, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library. The search terms (or equivalent index terms and free-text words) for each of the databases were used to ensure a broad coverage of published studies in our review. Detailed search terms are presented in Table 1.

    References were also collected by screening the reference lists of the 906 articles, and 2 more papers were found. In addition, a hand search in all JMIR journals was conducted (in August 2014) leading to 3 additional papers [20-22]. Thus, we identified a total of 911 published articles relevant to our topic.

    Table 1. Databases and search terms used, and references found (N=906).
    View this table

    Eligibility Criteria

    The review was limited to texts published in English, with an abstract available, between 2003 and 2013. The limitation in publication years was chosen due to a marked increase in information technology during the last decade [23]. The review was also limited to studies of text message reminders in the health care domain, sent from health care services to patients’ mobile phones. Patients of all ages and with any diagnoses were included. Further, we included only peer-reviewed, published papers using a variety of design and research methods.

    Studies were excluded if SMSs were received by a parent, relative or friend, health care student, or staff member; if a reminder was sent by email or letter; or if SMS was used for non-clinical purposes (eg, for the recruitment of study participants, to survey patients’ willingness to receive text messages). Further, papers describing the design process of the SMS system, theoretical papers, statistical reviews, books or book chapters, letters, dissertations, editorials, and study protocols were excluded.

    Study Selection

    The study selection consisted of four steps. First, 2 authors (KK, MK) independently screened all titles and abstracts (n=911) of relevance for this systematic review [24]. Second, the abstracts of all relevant articles were screened for eligibility by the same 2 authors. Third, the full papers of the included publications were obtained and screened (KK) for inclusion and exclusion criteria. In case of any discrepancy between the decisions made, the papers were discussed until consensus was reached with the support of MV. Fourth, the reference lists of all papers included and systematic reviews identified in the original search were checked to find additional publications that met our inclusion criteria. After study selection, we had 60 studies to be extracted. Figure 1 outlines the search process of the literature [25].

    Figure 1. PRISMA flow diagram outlining the review process.
    View this figure

    Data Extraction

    We created a specific data extraction grid to collect information systematically related to our aims in the synthesis study by one author (KK). The data extraction was based on the CONSORT-EHEALTH checklist [26] where possible.

    Descriptive Characteristics of the Study

    The following information of data items was collected [27]: (1) name(s) of the author(s), (2) year of publication (papers published since 2003 were included due to a marked increase in information technology during the last decade [23]), (3) country where the study was conducted, (4) purposes of the studies related to the use of mobile phone text message reminders, (5) setting of the studies was coded with a specific term used in the study (eg, outpatient or inpatient clinics, general or private hospitals), and the patient group who received text message reminders was extracted, (6) type (quantitative or qualitative) of the study, (7) study design, (8) number of patients enrolled and participating in the study, and response rate of the studies were extracted, (9) intervention based on mobile phone text message reminders, (10) goals of text messages, (11) dose of the intervention based on mobile phone text message reminders (eg, the number of text message reminders, how often text message reminders were sent), and the timing (eg, the time of day or week the text message was sent; the time of a reminder before a specific intervention) of the intervention were extracted, (12) outcome measures as a key concept used, (13) instruments used to measure the outcomes of the intervention based on mobile telephone text message reminders (eg, names of the instruments used), and (14) outcomes of the intervention were extracted and described as increased, decreased, or unchanged. Increase, decrease, or unchanged were then presented as arrows up (↑), down (↓) or horizontal (⇔) (respectively) (see [28]).


    The data on each included study were entered into the specific data extraction grid. Each study was treated as a separate case. Descriptive characteristics of the studies were categorized manually according to our research questions. The methodological quality of the studies was appraised with the Mixed Method Appraisal Tool (MMAT) by Pluye et al [29]. The method was designed to appraise the methodological quality of the studies in complex systematic literature reviews that include qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies. For appraising qualitative studies, we used Section 1 of the MMAT, which contains items related to data sources, data analysis, context, and researcher’s influence. Section 2 of the MMAT was used to appraise randomized controlled studies; it contains items related to randomization, allocation concealment, assessment of outcome data and completeness of follow-up (drop-out). Section 3 was used for non-randomized studies; it contains items related to participants’ recruitment, outcome measurements, comparability of groups, and completeness of outcome data. Section 4 was used for descriptive studies; it contains items related to relevant sampling strategy, representativeness of the sample, outcome measurements, and acceptability of the response rate. Each item was scored as “yes”, “no”, or “can’t tell” [29]. In 27% (16/60) of the studies, the quality score was 4/4, meaning that all four criteria were met. In 45% (27/60) of the studies, the quality score was 3/4. In 72% (43/60) of the included studies, the quality score was 3/4 or 4/4, indicating the methodological quality of the included studies.


    Study Selection

    The literature search yielded 911 publications. Duplicates were removed leaving 584 papers for further abstract screening. Following that screening according to inclusion and exclusion criteria by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination [24], we excluded 487 papers based on the title and the abstract. All together 97 potential articles were obtained for full-text review by 2 independent reviewers, of which 60 studies were included in the review for further data extraction.

    Characteristics of the Included Studies

    Author, year, country, setting, type of study, design, patient group, and sample were extracted to describe the characteristics of the studies. The authors of the studies are reported in each table dealing with the included studies (see Multimedia Appendices 1-3). The studies included in our analysis were published between 2004 and 2013. The number of published studies increased steadily until 2011, being highest in 2012. Of the included studies, 37% (22/60) studies were published in 2012. Except for one study [30], all publications involved outpatients. The studies were mostly conducted in the United States (35%, 21/60), followed by the United Kingdom and Australia (Figure 2).

    Of the included studies, 95% (57/60) had a quantitative design, one (1) had a qualitative design, and two (2) used both quantitative and qualitative designs. Over one-third (35%, 21/60) of the studies were randomized controlled trials (RCT). Other studies were non-randomized feasibility studies, before-and-after studies, cross-sectional studies, retrospective and prospective studies, cohort studies with or without historical control, clinical trials, or qualitative descriptive studies.

    The most common patient groups described were patients with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS; 15%, 9/60), diabetes (13%, 8/60), asthma (8%, 5/60), or schizophrenia (7%, 4/60). Other patient groups are described in more detail in Multimedia Appendix 2. The sample size of the studies varied from 4 participants to 9959. In half of the studies (53%, 32/60), the sample size was 100 or under, and in 23 studies (38%, 23/60), it was over 100. In 5 studies (8%, 5/60) the sample size was shown as the amount of appointments, not participants. The response rates of the studies varied from 22-100%. Descriptive characteristics of the included studies are presented in more detail in Multimedia Appendices 1 and 2.

    Figure 2. Countries of the publications included.
    View this figure

    Purposes of Text Message Reminders Used in Health Care

    The purpose of the study, description of the intervention, dose, and timing were extracted to describe the purposes of text message reminders used in health care. Mobile phone text message reminders were used to remind patients about their medication or treatment in 63% (38/60) of the studies, and both to increase the attendance to clinical appointments and to decrease the non-attendance to clinical appointments with patients from different patient groups in 37% (22/60) of the studies (Multimedia Appendix 2).

    The mobile telephone text message reminders were used as the only intervention in 73% (44/60) of the studies (Multimedia Appendix 2). In 27% (16/60) of the studies, the approach was multifaceted, indicating that text message reminders were connected to another comprehensive health intervention system, such as educational text messages (7%, 4/60) [31-34], informational text messages about patients’ disease and healthy living (12%, 7/60) [20,21,32,33,35-37], supportive text messages [22,38] or to diary data collection [39]. In the studies by Rodrigues et al [40] and Sidney et al [41], reminders were sent as non-interactive neutral pictures delivered as an SMS.

    The dose and timing of the text message reminders depended on the dosage of the medication or treatment and a patient’s scheduled appointment (Multimedia Appendix 2). In 55% (33/60) of the studies, the dose was reported as how often the text message reminder was sent, so that the most common dose was to send the text message reminders daily (35%, 21/60) [20-22,31,32,35,38,39,42-54]. In 38% (23/60) of the studies, the dose was reported as amount of text message reminders sent, and in 7% (4/60) of the studies, the dose was reported to depend on patients’ preferences.

    The timing was reported as the time of the day (eg, morning, evening) or as a certain time (eg, 10 a.m., 8 p.m.) in 37% (22/60) of the included studies, and as how many days before the appointment the reminder was sent (eg, one day before the appointment) in 25% (15/60) of the studies . In 22% (13/60) of the studies, the timing was reported to be based on patients’ personal needs. However, in 17% (10/60) of the studies, the time of sending text messages was not reported. Further, the timing varied from 10 minutes before the medication was due to be taken [55] to 2 weeks before the scheduled appointment [56]. The dose and timing of the text message reminders are shown more specifically in Multimedia Appendix 2.

    Assessment Methods to Evaluate the Impact of Mobile Phone Text Message Reminders

    A description of the instruments used as an assessment method was extracted (Multimedia Appendix 3). In 43% (26/60) of the studies, the impact was assessed using existing databases (eg, attendance rate/did not attend rate) [34,39,52,56-78].

    In 12% (7/60) of the studies, the impact of the mobile phone text message reminders was assessed using questionnaires [20,32,41,49-51,53], and in 18% (11/60) of the studies, the impact was assessed using physiological measures [22,31,35,37,44,45,47,48,52,79,80]. Out of these 11 physiological assessments, patients’ self-assessment was used alone in one study, blood test alone in one study, self-reported weight in one study, and in eight studies patients’ self-assessment was connected with electronic monitoring, a questionnaire, pill counting, or a blood test. Other assessment methods were electronic monitoring alone (n=3) [42,46,81], pill count alone (n=1) [40], system usage calculation (n=1) [36], proportion of days covered calculation (n=1) [82], interview (n=1) [54], and observational measurement (n=2) [30,83].

    In 10% (6/60) of the studies, the impact was assessed through patient satisfaction with the text message-based intervention [33,38,55,84-86]. In addition to these six studies, patient satisfaction was assessed in 15 studies. Patients’ satisfaction with the text message reminders was assessed in total in 20 studies, and patients’ reminder preferences in one study (Table 2). Patient satisfaction was assessed by questionnaires (n=14) [20-22,31-33,38,41,48,53,55,70,79,85], and by interviews (n=6) [36,39,44,73,80,84]. Patients’ preferences regarding reminders (n=1) were assessed by calculating the percentage of patients who selected the SMS reminders [86].

    Table 2. Assessment of patient satisfaction.
    View this table

    Impact of Using Text Messages as Reminders in Health Care

    Outcome measures and outcomes were extracted to describe the impacts of using text messages as reminders in health care. Of the included studies, the outcome measures were adherence to medication or treatment (50%, 30/60), appointment attendance (22%, 13/60), appointment non-attendance (18%, 11/60), or patient satisfaction (10%, 6/60). The impacts of using SMS text messages as reminders in health care are described in Table 2 and Multimedia Appendix 3.

    Out of 60 studies, the outcomes reportedly improved in 77% (46/60). First, adherence to medication or to treatment improved in 24 studies [20,21,31,32,35-37,39,40,43-46, 48-51,53,54,66,79-82]. Second, appointment attendance was reported to have improved in 11 studies [30,34,57,60,61,69,70,74,75,77,78]. Third, non-attendance rates reportedly decreased in 11 studies [56,59,62-65,67,68,71,72,76]. In addition, patients’ attitudes towards medication were reported to have improved [51], the number of missed medication doses reportedly decreased [44,81], and text messages were found to have reduced treatment interruptions [46].

    Outcomes in patient satisfaction were positive in those studies (n=6) where no impact was assessed [33,38,55,84-86]. In addition to these studies, patient satisfaction was assessed in 15 studies together with the impact assessment. In patients’ opinions, text messages were easy to use [20,44,48], they reminded patients to take their medication [32], patients were willing to receive text messages [53,66], and they were satisfied with text messages [69].

    Using text messages had advantages over other reminding systems. Text messages could be sent to patients simultaneously, they were always available [59], cost-effective [59,63], and sending text messages to patients required less staff [63]. Liew et al [65] found that text messages were as effective as telephone reminders but were low-priced [60,61]. However, in the study by Greaney et al [86], participants preferred automated voice response reminders (72%) instead of SMS reminders (28%). Patients’ opinions about the usefulness of the text messages received varied from 88% [31] to 66% [81].

    However, daily text message reminders did not improve adherence to oral contraceptive pills [42], acne treatment [47], or lupus erythematosus treatment [52]. Pijnenborg et al [30,83] found that the overall effect of prompting disappeared after the text message reminders ceased, indicating the dependence on continuous use of the intervention. Bos et al [58] and Fischer et al [73] found that there were no differences in appointment attendance before and after sending text message reminders.

    Despite all the benefits and beneficial characteristics of the mobile phone text message reminders, this literature review shows that there are limitations to using mobile phone text message reminders. First, patients had privacy concerns about losing their mobile phones and other people possibly gaining access to the messages [67,70]. Although most (93%, 56/60) of the studies reported that the messages did not include the patient’s name or other identification in the reminder message, four exceptions were found [47,60,61,72]. No adverse events were reported. Second, patients may have changed their mobile phone numbers without informing the health care staff [60,61,67], thus the staff could not be sure that all participants had received the text messages. Downing et al [77] found that the proportion of undelivered text messages was high. Koshy et al [63] demonstrated that patients may have not received the text message reminders due to incorrect data entry. Third, it is possible that patients adapted to the messages and stopped reading them [43].


    Principal Findings

    The results of this narrative literature review showed that mobile phones and text messages are used worldwide, which supports the global penetration of mobile phone subscriptions [1] in different user groups in health care [2,12,14,15]. We have demonstrated that mobile phone text messages may have their uses in reminding patients about medication adherence [43,45,47,50] and in reducing non-attendance rates [59,61,63,76]. The possibility of using text message reminders as the only intervention or in conjunction with some other comprehensive health intervention systems further adds to the usability of text messages in health care services. Thus, SMS reminders deserve more attention as a potential innovation to improve health care operations [87].

    On the other hand, some concerns were also identified. First, in 4 studies, the dose of text message reminders (eg, the number of text message reminders, how often text message reminders were sent), and in 12 studies, the timing of the text message reminders reported were based on patients’ personal needs. Second, despite the safety of the text messages in health care [6], the literature review demonstrated privacy concerns, such as loss of a mobile phone or other people reading the messages [67,70]. Therefore, more emphasis should be put on how to guarantee that health-related patient information in electronic systems is anonymous and neutral enough to be managed even in open electronic systems. Special considerations are also required in designing the content of the reminder messages, entering the patient data to the automatic systems or dialing correct mobile phone numbers to protect patients’ privacy and security issues [4,88].

    The impacts of text message reminders focused on improving adherence to medication and improving appointment attendance. Although no meta-analysis was used due to the high heterogeneity of the data gathered, this review demonstrated that text message reminders were easy to use, useful for patients, they were willing to receive text messages, and satisfied with the text message reminders. This knowledge is essential because patients’ views influence the acceptance of the text message intervention and its integration into patients’ daily lives [13]. On the other hand, patients may adapt to the messages and the effectiveness of the messages diminishes. This is what happened in the study by Strandbygaard et al [43]; participants in the intervention group stopped reading their reminder messages after a few weeks.


    We recognize that there are some limitations in our review. First, the literature search yielded studies that were diverse methodologically and clinically. As the studies included were heterogeneous in study design, patient group studied, sample size, description of the intervention, and outcome measures, we synthesized the data with a narrative method, rather than trying to do a meta-analysis. As such, our findings cannot be used to recommend any preferred strategy for the use of mobile phone text message reminders in health care. Second, the studies differed in their methodological quality, which may have had an impact on the results, and biased our findings and limited our interpretations. Third, we included studies only from peer-reviewed English-language journals, which may have restricted our findings and biased the data toward positive results. And fourth, we excluded studies if text messages were received by parents, relatives, or friends, which may exclude a wide variety of studies (eg, immunization reminders; see [89,90]) in different fields and further affected the conclusions from the review.

    Future Research

    Further evaluation of mobile phone text message reminder interventions is needed to form a more coherent picture of their use and effectiveness in health care services. This should be done with rigorous RCT studies of their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. The research should also focus more on service users’ and their caregivers’ needs and preferences regarding the text message reminders to be received and how to maintain interest in text message reminders to achieve the best possible impact. In addition, the assessment of users’ satisfaction toward intervention should also be ensured. In this task, qualitative evaluations could also be used to hear users’ voices. More research is also needed to ascertain the best ways to guarantee privacy and security in mobile phone text message reminder interventions.


    The findings of this literature review are encouraging. However, the amount of evidence for SMS application recommendations is still limited. In our review, having 77% (46/60) of the studies showing improved outcomes may still indicate its use in health care settings. Although no firm conclusions can be drawn so far, mobile phone text message reminders may be a potential method in health care systems. Given the widespread use of mobile phone text message reminders among different patient groups, it may have the potential to improve adherence to medication and attendance at clinical appointments globally.


    This work was in part supported with grants from the Academy of Finland (132581), Turku University Hospital (EVO 13893), Satakunta Hospital District (EVO 12/2010, 81096), Professor Pool and Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the University of Turku.

    Conflicts of Interest

    None declared.

    Multimedia Appendix 1

    Descriptive characteristics of the included studies.

    PDF File (Adobe PDF File), 85KB

    Multimedia Appendix 2

    Population, sample size, response rates, description of the intervention, goal of the text messages, dose, and timing of the SMS intervention.

    PDF File (Adobe PDF File), 156KB

    Multimedia Appendix 3

    Assessment methods and outcomes.

    PDF File (Adobe PDF File), 143KB


    1. International Telecommunication Union. ICT Facts and Figures. The World in 2013.: International Telecommunication Union; 2013.   URL: [accessed 2014-01-05] [WebCite Cache]
    2. Atun RF, Sittampalam SR. The role of mobile phones in increasing accessibility and efficiency in healthcare. A Review of the Characteristics and Benefits of SMS in Delivering Healthcare.: The Vodafone Policy Paper Series; 2006.   URL: [accessed 2014-02-07] [WebCite Cache]
    3. Zurovac D, Sudoi RK, Akhwale WS, Ndiritu M, Hamer DH, Rowe AK, et al. The effect of mobile phone text-message reminders on Kenyan health workers' adherence to malaria treatment guidelines: a cluster randomised trial. Lancet 2011 Aug 27;378(9793):795-803 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    4. Déglise C, Suggs LS, Odermatt P. Short message service (SMS) applications for disease prevention in developing countries. J Med Internet Res 2012;14(1):e3 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    5. Sanghara H, Kravariti E, Jakobsen H, Okocha C. Using short message services in mental health services: assessing feasibility. Mental Health Review Journal 2010;15(2):28-33. [CrossRef]
    6. Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman. Sahkopostin ja tekstiviestien kayttaminen terveydenhuollossa. Tietosuojavaltuutetun kannanotto 1.7.2010. Dnro 1475/41/2009.: Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman; 2010.   URL: [accessed 2014-01-04] [WebCite Cache]
    7. World Health Organization. National eHealth Strategy Toolkit.: World Health Organization; 2012.   URL: [accessed 2014-02-07] [WebCite Cache]
    8. European Commission. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 - Innovative healthcare for the 21st century.: European Commission; 2012.   URL: [accessed 2014-02-07] [WebCite Cache]
    9. International mHealth Standards Consortium. Regulatory guidance impacting mHealth Technology.: International mHealth Standards Consortium; 2014.   URL: [accessed 2014-02-07] [WebCite Cache]
    10. American Telemedicine Association. Telehealth practice recommendations for diabetic retinopathy.: American Telemedicine Association; 2011.   URL: http:/​/www.​​docs/​default-source/​standards/​telehealth-practice-recommendations-for-diabetic-retinopathy.​pdf?sfvrsn=10 [accessed 2014-02-07] [WebCite Cache]
    11. Kilbourne AM, Neumann MS, Pincus HA, Bauer MS, Stall R. Implementing evidence-based interventions in health care: application of the replicating effective programs framework. Implement Sci 2007;2:42 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    12. Car J, Gurol-Urganci I, de Jongh T, Vodopivec-Jamsek V, Atun R. Mobile phone messaging reminders for attendance at healthcare appointments. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;7:CD007458. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    13. Vervloet M, Linn AJ, van Weert JC, de Bakker DH, Bouvy ML, van Dijk L. The effectiveness of interventions using electronic reminders to improve adherence to chronic medication: a systematic review of the literature. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012;19(5):696-704 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    14. Horvath T, Azman H, Kennedy GE, Rutherford GW. Mobile phone text messaging for promoting adherence to antiretroviral therapy in patients with HIV infection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;3:CD009756. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    15. de Jongh T, Gurol-Urganci I, Vodopivec-Jamsek V, Car J, Atun R. Mobile phone messaging for facilitating self-management of long-term illnesses. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;12:CD007459. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    16. Krishna S, Boren SA, Balas EA. Healthcare via cell phones: a systematic review. Telemed J E Health 2009 Apr;15(3):231-240. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    17. Gurol-Urganci I, de Jongh T, Vodopivec-Jamsek V, Car J, Atun R. Mobile phone messaging for communicating results of medical investigations. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;13(6):CD007456. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    18. Kauppi K, Välimäki M, Hätönen H, Kuosmanen LM, Warwick-Smith K, Adams CE. Information and communication technology based prompting for treatment compliance for people with serious mental illness. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014;17(6):CD009960. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    19. Grant MJ, Booth A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Info Libr J 2009 Jun;26(2):91-108. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    20. Nundy S, Razi RR, Dick JJ, Smith B, Mayo A, O'Connor A, et al. A text messaging intervention to improve heart failure self-management after hospital discharge in a largely African-American population: before-after study. J Med Internet Res 2013;15(3):e53 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    21. Furberg RD, Uhrig JD, Bann CM, Lewis MA, Harris JL, Williams P, et al. Technical Implementation of a Multi-Component, Text Message-Based Intervention for Persons Living with HIV. JMIR Res Protoc 2012;1(2):e17 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    22. Shaw RJ, Bosworth HB, Hess JC, Silva SG, Lipkus IM, Davis LL, et al. Development of a Theoretically Driven mHealth Text Messaging Application for Sustaining Recent Weight Loss. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2013;1(1):e5 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    23. World Economic Forum. The global information technology report.: World Economic Forum; 2013.   URL: [accessed 2014-02-07] [WebCite Cache]
    24. CRD. Systematic Reviews: CRD's Guidance for Undertaking Reviews in Healthcare. York: University of York; 2009.   URL: [accessed 2014-02-07] [WebCite Cache]
    25. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta- Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLoS Med 2009;6(6):e1000097. [CrossRef]
    26. Eysenbach G, CONSORT-EHEALTH Group. CONSORT-EHEALTH: improving and standardizing evaluation reports of Web-based and mobile health interventions. J Med Internet Res 2011;13(4):e126 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    27. Kelders SM, Kok RN, Ossebaard HC, Van Gemert-Pijnen JE. Persuasive system design does matter: a systematic review of adherence to web-based interventions. J Med Internet Res 2012;14(6):e152 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    28. Rush KL, Adamack M, Gordon J, Lilly M, Janke R. Best practices of formal new graduate nurse transition programs: an integrative review. Int J Nurs Stud 2013 Mar;50(3):345-356. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    29. Pluye P, Robert E, Cargo M, Bartlett G, O’Cathain A, Griffiths F, et al. Proposal: A mixed methods appraisal tool for systematic mixed studies reviews. 2011.   URL: http:/​/mixedmethodsappraisaltoolpublic.​​w/​file/​fetch/​84371689/​MMAT%202011%20criteria%20and%20tutorial%202011-06-29updated2014.​08.​21.​pdf [accessed 2014-01-04] [WebCite Cache]
    30. Pijnenborg GHM, Withaar FK, Evans JJ, van den Bosch RJ, Brouwer WH. SMS text messages as a prosthetic aid in the cognitive rehabilitation of schizophrenia. Rehabilitation Psychology 2007;52(2):236-240. [CrossRef]
    31. Pena-Robichaux V, Kvedar JC, Watson AJ. Text messages as a reminder aid and educational tool in adults and adolescents with atopic dermatitis: a pilot study. Dermatol Res Pract 2010;2010:- [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    32. Arora S, Peters AL, Agy C, Menchine M. A mobile health intervention for inner city patients with poorly controlled diabetes: proof-of-concept of the TExT-MED program. Diabetes Technol Ther 2012 Jun;14(6):492-496. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    33. Lua PL, Neni WS. Feasibility and acceptability of mobile epilepsy educational system (MEES) for people with epilepsy in Malaysia. Telemed J E Health 2012 Dec;18(10):777-784 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    34. Lund S, Hemed M, Nielsen BB, Said A, Said K, Makungu MH, et al. Mobile phones as a health communication tool to improve skilled attendance at delivery in Zanzibar: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. BJOG 2012 Sep;119(10):1256-1264. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    35. Franklin VL, Waller A, Pagliari C, Greene SA. A randomized controlled trial of Sweet Talk, a text-messaging system to support young people with diabetes. Diabet Med 2006 Dec;23(12):1332-1338. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    36. Hanauer DA, Wentzell K, Laffel N, Laffel LM. Computerized Automated Reminder Diabetes System (CARDS): e-mail and SMS cell phone text messaging reminders to support diabetes management. Diabetes Technol Ther 2009 Feb;11(2):99-106. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    37. Balato N, Megna M, Di Costanzo L, Balato A, Ayala F. Educational and motivational support service: a pilot study for mobile-phone-based interventions in patients with psoriasis. Br J Dermatol 2013 Jan;168(1):201-205. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    38. Agyapong VI, Milnes J, McLoughlin DM, Farren CK. Perception of patients with alcohol use disorder and comorbid depression about the usefulness of supportive text messages. Technol Health Care 2013;21(1):31-39. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    39. Anhøj J, Møldrup C. Feasibility of collecting diary data from asthma patients through mobile phones and SMS (short message service): response rate analysis and focus group evaluation from a pilot study. J Med Internet Res 2004 Dec 2;6(4):e42 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    40. Rodrigues R, Shet A, Antony J, Sidney K, Arumugam K, Krishnamurthy S, et al. Supporting adherence to antiretroviral therapy with mobile phone reminders: results from a cohort in South India. PLoS One 2012;7(8):e40723 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    41. Sidney K, Antony J, Rodrigues R, Arumugam K, Krishnamurthy S, D'souza G, et al. Supporting patient adherence to antiretrovirals using mobile phone reminders: patient responses from South India. AIDS Care 2012;24(5):612-617. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    42. Hou MY, Hurwitz S, Kavanagh E, Fortin J, Goldberg AB. Using daily text-message reminders to improve adherence with oral contraceptives: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2010 Sep;116(3):633-640. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    43. Strandbygaard U, Thomsen SF, Backer V. A daily SMS reminder increases adherence to asthma treatment: a three-month follow-up study. Respir Med 2010 Feb;104(2):166-171 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    44. Dick JJ, Nundy S, Solomon MC, Bishop KN, Chin MH, Peek ME. Feasibility and usability of a text message-based program for diabetes self-management in an urban African-American population. J Diabetes Sci Technol 2011 Sep;5(5):1246-1254 [FREE Full text] [Medline]
    45. Hardy H, Kumar V, Doros G, Farmer E, Drainoni ML, Rybin D, et al. Randomized controlled trial of a personalized cellular phone reminder system to enhance adherence to antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Patient Care STDS 2011 Mar;25(3):153-161 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    46. Pop-Eleches C, Thirumurthy H, Habyarimana JP, Zivin JG, Goldstein MP, de Walque D, et al. Mobile phone technologies improve adherence to antiretroviral treatment in a resource-limited setting: a randomized controlled trial of text message reminders. AIDS 2011 Mar 27;25(6):825-834 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    47. Boker A, Feetham HJ, Armstrong A, Purcell P, Jacobe H. Do automated text messages increase adherence to acne therapy? Results of a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol 2012 Dec;67(6):1136-1142. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    48. Dowshen N, Kuhns LM, Johnson A, Holoyda BJ, Garofalo R. Improving adherence to antiretroviral therapy for youth living with HIV/AIDS: a pilot study using personalized, interactive, daily text message reminders. J Med Internet Res 2012;14(2):e51 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    49. Granholm E, Ben-Zeev D, Link PC, Bradshaw KR, Holden JL. Mobile Assessment and Treatment for Schizophrenia (MATS): a pilot trial of an interactive text-messaging intervention for medication adherence, socialization, and auditory hallucinations. Schizophr Bull 2012 May;38(3):414-425 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    50. Lv Y, Zhao H, Liang Z, Dong H, Liu L, Zhang D, et al. A mobile phone short message service improves perceived control of asthma: a randomized controlled trial. Telemed J E Health 2012;18(6):420-426. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    51. Montes JM, Medina E, Gomez-Beneyto M, Maurino J. A short message service (SMS)-based strategy for enhancing adherence to antipsychotic medication in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Res 2012 Dec 30;200(2-3):89-95. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    52. Ting TV, Kudalkar D, Nelson S, Cortina S, Pendl J, Budhani S, et al. Usefulness of cellular text messaging for improving adherence among adolescents and young adults with systemic lupus erythematosus. J Rheumatol 2012 Jan;39(1):174-179. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    53. Lewis MA, Uhrig JD, Bann CM, Harris JL, Furberg RD, Coomes C, et al. Tailored text messaging intervention for HIV adherence: a proof-of-concept study. Health Psychol 2013 Mar;32(3):248-253. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    54. Nundy S, Dick JJ, Solomon MC, Peek ME. Developing a behavioral model for mobile phone-based diabetes interventions. Patient Educ Couns 2013 Jan;90(1):125-132 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    55. Mao Y, Zhang Y, Zhai S. Mobile phone text messaging for pharmaceutical care in a hospital in China. J Telemed Telecare 2008;14(8):410-414. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    56. Brannan SO, Dewar C, Taggerty L, Clark S. The effect of short messaging service text on non-attendance in a general ophthalmology clinic. Scott Med J 2011 Aug;56(3):148-150. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    57. Vilella A, Bayas JM, Diaz MT, Guinovart C, Diez C, Simó D, et al. The role of mobile phones in improving vaccination rates in travelers. Prev Med 2004 Apr;38(4):503-509. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    58. Bos A, Hoogstraten J, Prahl-Andersen B. Failed appointments in an orthodontic clinic. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2005 Mar;127(3):355-357. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    59. Downer SR, Meara JG, Da Costa AC. Use of SMS text messaging to improve outpatient attendance. Med J Aust 2005 Oct 3;183(7):366-368. [Medline]
    60. Leong KC, Chen WS, Leong KW, Mastura I, Mimi O, Sheikh MA, et al. The use of text messaging to improve attendance in primary care: a randomized controlled trial. Fam Pract 2006 Dec;23(6):699-705 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    61. Chen ZW, Fang LZ, Chen LY, Dai HL. Comparison of an SMS text messaging and phone reminder to improve attendance at a health promotion center: a randomized controlled trial. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B 2008 Jan;9(1):34-38 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    62. Fairhurst K, Sheikh A. Texting appointment reminders to repeated non-attenders in primary care: randomised controlled study. Qual Saf Health Care 2008 Oct;17(5):373-376. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    63. Koshy E, Car J, Majeed A. Effectiveness of mobile-phone short message service (SMS) reminders for ophthalmology outpatient appointments: observational study. BMC Ophthalmol 2008;8:9 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    64. Foley J, O'Neill M. Use of mobile telephone short message service (SMS) as a reminder: the effect on patient attendance. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent 2009 Jan;10(1):15-18. [Medline]
    65. Liew SM, Tong SF, Lee VK, Ng CJ, Leong KC, Teng CL. Text messaging reminders to reduce non-attendance in chronic disease follow-up: a clinical trial. Br J Gen Pract 2009 Dec;59(569):916-920 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    66. Ludlow H, Hurley J, Dolwani S. Using email and text messaging to improve patient compliance with blood monitoring. Nurs Times 2009;105(28):26-28. [Medline]
    67. da Costa TM, Salomão P, Martha AS, Pisa IT, Sigulem D. The impact of short message service text messages sent as appointment reminders to patients' cell phones at outpatient clinics in São Paulo, Brazil. Int J Med Inform 2010 Jan;79(1):65-70. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    68. Milne RG. Reducing non-attendance at specialist clinics: an evaluation of the effectiveness and cost of patient-focused booking and SMS reminders at a Scottish health board. Int J Consum Stud 2010;34(5):570-580. [CrossRef]
    69. Bourne C, Knight V, Guy R, Wand H, Lu H, McNulty A. Short message service reminder intervention doubles sexually transmitted infection/HIV re-testing rates among men who have sex with men. Sex Transm Infect 2011 Apr;87(3):229-231. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    70. Branson CE, Clemmey P, Mukherjee P. Text message reminders to improve outpatient therapy attendance among adolescents: a pilot study. Psychol Serv 2013 Aug;10(3):298-303. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    71. Perry JG. A preliminary investigation into the effect of the use of the Short Message Service (SMS) on patient attendance at an NHS Dental Access Centre in Scotland. Prim Dent Care 2011 Oct;18(4):145-149. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    72. Altuwaijri MM, Sughayr AM, Hassan MA, Alazwari FM. The effect of integrating short messaging services` reminders with electronic medical records on non-attendance rates. Saudi Med J 2012 Feb;33(2):193-196. [Medline]
    73. Fischer HH, Moore SL, Ginosar D, Davidson AJ, Rice-Peterson CM, Durfee MJ, et al. Care by cell phone: text messaging for chronic disease management. Am J Manag Care 2012 Feb;18(2):e42-e47 [FREE Full text] [Medline]
    74. Prasad S, Anand R. Use of mobile telephone short message service as a reminder: the effect on patient attendance. Int Dent J 2012 Feb;62(1):21-26. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    75. Sims H, Sanghara H, Hayes D, Wandiembe S, Finch M, Jakobsen H, et al. Text message reminders of appointments: a pilot intervention at four community mental health clinics in London. Psychiatr Serv 2012 Feb 1;63(2):161-168. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    76. Taylor NF, Bottrell J, Lawler K, Benjamin D. Mobile telephone short message service reminders can reduce nonattendance in physical therapy outpatient clinics: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2012 Jan;93(1):21-26. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    77. Downing SG, Cashman C, McNamee H, Penney D, Russell DB, Hellard ME. Increasing chlamydia test of re-infection rates using SMS reminders and incentives. Sex Transm Infect 2013 Feb;89(1):16-19. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    78. Guy R, Wand H, Knight V, Kenigsberg A, Read P, McNulty AM. SMS reminders improve re-screening in women and heterosexual men with chlamydia infection at Sydney Sexual Health Centre: a before-and-after study. Sex Transm Infect 2013 Feb;89(1):11-15. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    79. Kollmann A, Riedl M, Kastner P, Schreier G, Ludvik B. Feasibility of a mobile phone-based data service for functional insulin treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus patients. J Med Internet Res 2007;9(5):e36 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    80. da Costa TM, Barbosa BJ, Gomes e Costa DA, Sigulem D, de Fátima Marin H, Filho AC, et al. Results of a randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of a mobile SMS-based intervention on treatment adherence in HIV/AIDS-infected Brazilian women and impressions and satisfaction with respect to incoming messages. Int J Med Inform 2012 Apr;81(4):257-269 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    81. Vervloet M, van Dijk L, Santen-Reestman J, van Vlijmen B, van Wingerden P, Bouvy ML, et al. SMS reminders improve adherence to oral medication in type 2 diabetes patients who are real time electronically monitored. Int J Med Inform 2012 Sep;81(9):594-604. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    82. Foreman KF, Stockl KM, Le LB, Fisk E, Shah SM, Lew HC, et al. Impact of a text messaging pilot program on patient medication adherence. Clin Ther 2012 May;34(5):1084-1091. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    83. Pijnenborg GH, Withaar FK, Brouwer WH, Timmerman ME, van den Bosch RJ, Evans JJ. The efficacy of SMS text messages to compensate for the effects of cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. Br J Clin Psychol 2010 Jun;49(Pt 2):259-274. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    84. Holtz B, Whitten P. Managing asthma with mobile phones: a feasibility study. Telemed J E Health 2009 Nov;15(9):907-909. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    85. Britto MT, Munafo JK, Schoettker PJ, Vockell AL, Wimberg JA, Yi MS. Pilot and feasibility test of adolescent-controlled text messaging reminders. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2012 Feb;51(2):114-121. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    86. Greaney ML, Puleo E, Sprunck-Harrild K, Bennett GG, Cunningham MA, Gillman MW, et al. Electronic reminders for cancer prevention: factors associated with preference for automated voice reminders or text messages. Prev Med 2012 Aug;55(2):151-154 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    87. Guy R, Hocking J, Wand H, Stott S, Ali H, Kaldor J. How effective are short message service reminders at increasing clinic attendance? A meta-analysis and systematic review. Health Serv Res 2012 Apr;47(2):614-632 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    88. Whittaker R. Issues in mHealth: findings from key informant interviews. J Med Internet Res 2012;14(5):e129 [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
    89. Ahlers-Schmidt CR, Chesser AK, Nguyen T, Brannon J, Hart TA, Williams KS, et al. Feasibility of a randomized controlled trial to evaluate Text Reminders for Immunization Compliance in Kids (TRICKs). Vaccine 2012 Aug 3;30(36):5305-5309. [CrossRef] [Medline]
    90. Wakadha H, Chandir S, Were EV, Rubin A, Obor D, Levine OS, et al. The feasibility of using mobile-phone based SMS reminders and conditional cash transfers to improve timely immunization in rural Kenya. Vaccine 2013 Jan 30;31(6):987-993. [CrossRef] [Medline]


    ICT: information and communication technology
    MMAT: Mixed Method Appraisal Tool
    RCT: randomized controlled trial
    SMS: short message service

    Edited by G Eysenbach; submitted 02.04.14; peer-reviewed by H Sanghara, B Balzer; comments to author 17.07.14; revised version received 30.07.14; accepted 25.08.14; published 17.10.14

    ©Kati Anneli Kannisto, Marita Hannele Koivunen, Maritta Anneli Välimäki. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 17.10.2014.

    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.