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Text Messaging to Measure Asthma Medication Use and Symptoms in Urban African American Emerging Adults: A Feasibility Study.

J Asthma. 2012 Oct 30 Macdonell K, Gibson-Scipio W, Lam P, Naar-King S, Chen X. Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Prevention Research Center, Wayne State University , Detroit, MI , USA.

Objective : Urban African American adolescents and young adults face disproportionate risk of asthma morbidity and mortality. This study was the first to assess the feasibility of Ecological Momentary Assessment via text messaging to measure asthma medication use and symptoms in African Americans aged 18-25 years.

Methods : This study used automated text messaging with N = 16 participants for 14 consecutive days. Participants sent event-based messages whenever they experienced asthma symptoms or took asthma rescue or controller medications. They also received time-based messages daily that prompted for a response about asthma medications or symptoms.

Results : Feasibility was assessed using response rates and participant feedback. Rates of event-based messages were relatively low (M = 0.85 messages sent per participant/day), but participants were very responsive to time-based messages (78.5%). All participants expressed positive feedback about the program, though 40.0% reported confusion with event-based messages and most preferred time-based messages. The assessment found low medication adherence rates and reasons for missing medication consistent with previous research with youth with asthma.

Conclusion : Text messaging may be a useful method to measure medication use and symptoms in "real time," particularly using time-based prompts. Results could be used to provide personalized feedback on adherence as part of a tailored intervention.

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