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Text messaging research study a success in the South West


Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has made a significant contribution to a research study using phone text messaging to help patients at high risk of Type 2 Diabetes manage their health and lifestyle.


The study, led by the research team at Imperial College, London offers a unique opportunity to those at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes to receive education and support currently not widely available to them in General Practice by using Short Messaging Service (SMS)or texts. The technology is being used to encourage and advise on lifestyle changes, including diet and activity, in people with impaired glucose regulation and at risk of developing this condition.


The 26 UK sites conducting the study include four from the South West –the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust at the RD&E Wonford Hospital, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth; the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust at Treliske; and South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust at Torbay Hospital.


Since opening this study in January 2015, the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has recruited more than the target number of 30 patients in partnership with the Exeter 10,000 research database – a commendable achievement for the Exeter Diabetes Research Team and for first time Nurse Principle Investigator Jane Piper.
Senior Research Nurse Jane Piper said:  “The team responsible for the Exeter 10,000 research database supported this research trial and welcomed the concept of using this technology to advise and support patients in managing their health and wellbeing. We have been so pleased with the positive response we have had from patients who took part in the Exeter 10,000 study, which shows the commitment to research by people living in the Exeter area.”


This study, which is being conducted in the UK and India, is assessing the effectiveness and acceptability of a text messaging system to prevent progression to diabetes in people at high risk. It involves five clinic visits over two years. Study participants are randomly selected with a computer-generated method to either receive the usual care or the text messaging support.

Usual care is a 30 minute interview with diet and exercise advice with written material and education about diabetes. The text message recipients receive weekly advice, support and motivation tailored to their own health needs, in addition to the usual care.

The study seeks to research the progress to diabetes with or without the SMS intervention.


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