Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no financial conflicts of interest.
Can mobile phone multimedia messages and text messages improve clinic attendance for Aboriginal children with chronic otitis media? A randomised controlled trial
Article first published online: 25 FEB 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2014 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 50, Issue 5, pages 362–367, May 2014
How to Cite
Phillips, J. H., Wigger, C., Beissbarth, J., McCallum, G. B., Leach, A. and Morris, P. S. (2014), Can mobile phone multimedia messages and text messages improve clinic attendance for Aboriginal children with chronic otitis media? A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 50: 362–367. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12496
Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000972022.
- Issue published online: 15 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 25 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 NOV 2013
- Australian Government Department of Health
- Ageing Hearing Loss Prevention Program
- mobile phone;
- otitis media;
- text message
Does phone multimedia messages (MMS) to families of Indigenous children with tympanic membrane perforation (TMP): (i) increase clinic attendance; (ii) improve ear health; and (iii) provide a culturally appropriate method of health promotion?
Fifty-three Australian Aboriginal children with a TMP living in remote community households with a mobile phone were randomised into intervention (n = 30) and control (n = 23) groups. MMS health messages in local languages were sent to the intervention group over 6 weeks.
Primary outcome: there was no significant difference in clinic attendance, with 1.3 clinic visits per child in both groups (mean difference −0.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) −1.1, 0.9; P = 0.9).
Secondary outcomes: (i) there was no significant change in healed perforation (risk difference 6%; 95% CI −10, 20; P = 0.6), middle ear discharge (risk difference −1%; 95% CI −30, 30; P = 1.0) or perforation size (mean difference 3%; 95% CI −11, 17; P = 0.7) between the groups; (ii) 84% (95% CI 60, 90) in the control and 70% (95% CI 50, 80) in the intervention group were happy to receive MMS health messages in the future. The difference was not significant (risk difference −14%; 95% CI −37, 8; P = 0.3).
Although there was no improvement in clinic attendance or ear health, this randomised controlled trial of MMS in Indigenous languages demonstrated that MMS is a culturally appropriate form of health promotion. Mobile phones may enhance management of chronic disease in remote and disadvantaged populations.