The simple text messages saving lives
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Stuart Wood has two devices inside his body to stop clots entering his heart, and he’s had Type 2 Diabetes for most of his life.
Yet, thanks to a simple SMS service, he says he’s never felt healthier.
Stuart, and his wife Sylvia, are success stories of Nellie – a simple text message service that we introduced from the UK, known as Flo, after investigating its success in patients there.
Nellie is a SMS service that is tailored to an individual, based on their health needs and clinical action plans, following consultation with their general practitioner. The clinician can choose a lifestyle program to lose weight, for example, or a clinical program such as managing blood sugar.
Automated messages, containing an action for the patient, are then sent as needed to prompt the patient to go for a walk, or to send back blood sugar levels, and inform and motivate.
Responses are then viewed by their GP or nurse.
Sylvia had a dramatic knee construction three years ago, which led to less physical activity.
And with active grandchildren to mind each week, they both opted to use Nellie to become more active and lose weight.
It’s called Nellie because the beauty of the text messaging service is you feel as though you are being contacted by a person you know. In Stuart and Sylvia’s case, they say when a message pops up from Nellie, they envisage it coming from their grandmother.
It’s because of this psychology, they felt they needed to get out walking when Nellie messages, and, as a result, their walking has graduated from around the block to hour-long walks along Frankston Boardwalk.
“When Nellie sends a text message to ask if you’ve been for a walk, you are tempted to reply yes, then not do it, but you feel guilty afterwards. I always end up going for a walk because I truly feel like it’s my grandmother telling me to do it. We’ve also been able to discover our surroundings more and have uncovered places we didn’t know were there,” Stuart said.
Fast-forward six months, and the couple’s results speak for themselves. Sylvia has lost 7kg, has continued to walk, pain-free, to the shops instead of driving, and says she has more energy, especially for her two-year-old grandson.
Stuart’s results have quite possibly saved his life. He’s lost more than 10kg, and, he’s reduced his insulin intake drastically from over 30 units per day to 5, a result that has stunned his clinician.
“I feel so better with less insulin, I don’t feel as though I need to snack. And to think, I just needed that little push,” Stuart said.
Nellie doesn't doesn’t require a downloadable app, or a smartphone, which makes it a very accessible option. It is the most researched and effective tool of its kind.
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