We assessed the impact of text messaging as the preferred method of communicating positive Chlamydia trachomatis test results in an urban sexual health clinic. Following the introduction of a text messaging service to communicate positive C trachomatis test results to patients, the time between test and treatment in 293 consecutive patients was compared with 303 historic controls. No significant difference was found in either median time to treatment for all patients (3 days in 2005; 4 days in 2007) or median time to treatment (both 7 days) for those not treated immediately. There was no significant difference in time to treatment between those using a landline or mobile phone. Mobile phone use was significantly higher in 2007. Overall, we treated more cases within 4 weeks in 2007 (98.6% cf 96%).
The lack of difference in time to treatment showed the use of this technology is as effective as more traditional means of communication. The increase in cases of C trachomatis treated within 4 weeks may reflect the significant increase in mobile phone use and improved ability to contact people rather than simply the introduction of text messaging.
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Competing interests: None.
Contributors: JM initiated the text messaging service; EL collated the study data; JH provided statistical analysis; all authors contributed to writing the manuscript and all have reviewed and approved the final version.