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Texting decreases the time to treatment for genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a text message result service within an inner London sexual health clinic.

Method: Demographic data, diagnoses, and time to diagnosis and treatment were collected over a 6 month period for patients receiving text messages and a matched standard recall group. Data on messages sent, staff time, and cost in relation to result provision were collected.

Results: Over a 6 month period 952 text messages were sent. In the final month of analysis, 33.9% of all clinic results were provided by text, resulting in a saving of 46 hours of staff time per month. 49 messages requested that the patient return for treatment, 28 of these patients had untreated genital Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infection. The mean number of days (SD) to diagnosis was significantly shorter in the text message group (TG) v the standard recall group (SG) (7.9 (3.6) v 11.2 (4.7), p <0.001). The median time to treatment was 8.5 days (range 4–27 days) for the TG group v 15.0 (range 7–35) for SG, p  =  0.005.

Conclusion: Patients with genital CT infection are diagnosed and receive treatment sooner since the introduction of a text message result service. The introduction of this service has resulted in a significant saving in staff time.

  • CT, Chlamydia trachomatis
  • GUM, genitourinary medicine
  • SG, standard recall group
  • STI, sexually transmitted infections
  • TG, text message group
  • text messaging
  • treatment time
  • Chlamydia trachomatis

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