Electronic MediaSunscreen

Text message reminders to use sunscreen

 Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston reported their findings during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

First, the details.

  • 70 people were randomly assigned to receive the text message reminders or not.
  • All participants were asked to apply sunscreen for 6 weeks.
  • Adherence to daily sunscreen use was evaluated using a novel electronic monitoring device, which sent an SMS message to a central server each time the tube was opened.
    • More about SMS messaging is here.

And, the results.

  • After 6-weeks, the no message group had 30% daily adherence.
  • The daily reminder group had a 56% daily adherence rate — a significant difference.
  • After the study, those in the reminder group rated the usefulness of the service at 8 out of a possible 10 points.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “The findings suggest that a simple daily reminder can maintain improved long-term adherence to sunscreen application, thereby encouraging a sun-protective behavior that is likely to be beneficial in decreasing the risk of skin cancer.”

It’s innovative, low cost, and apparently effective.

3/13/09 21:49 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.