Our research among most impactful

A study published by the TEXT ME team, led by Professor Clara Chow, has been highlighted as one of the most impactful publications in 2015.

The team’s paper, “Effect of Lifestyle-Focused Text Messaging on Risk Factor Modifications in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease: A Randomised Clinical Trial”, was named as one of the top ten most impactful reports by The Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council of the American Heart Association.

The research, which was featured in The Journal of the American Medical Association in December, aimed to examine the effect of a lifestyle-focused semipersonalized support program delivered by mobile phone text message on cardiovascular risk factors. At six months, levels of LDL-C were significantly lower in intervention participants, with concurrent reductions in systolic blood pressure and BMI, significant increases in physical activity, and a significant reduction in smoking. The majority reported the text messages to be useful (91%), easy to understand (97%), and appropriate in frequency (86%).

Lawrence Appel, chair of the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council, said: “We received many nominations from some of the highest impactful journals and well-recognised names in nutrition, obesity, prevention, physical activity and cardiometabolic fitness. Your publication was nominated and ranked as one of the most impactful publications.”

He added the work of The George Institute was helping to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The success of the project resulted from a strong collaboration between staff at The George Institute and Westmead Hospital staff. They include: PhD students Karla Santo and Jay Thakkar, as well as Master student Laura de Keizer, who supported recruitment, data collection and follow-up assessments and are leading sub-analyses relating to diet, physical activity, software development and related systematic reviews.

Senior academic staff include: Associate Professor Julie Redfern, who led work around qualitative analysis; Associate Professor Maree Hackett and Professor Stephen Jan who led the process and cost evaluation aspects of the study with further leadership from Professor Anthony RodgersSeverine Bompoint and Sandrine Stepien, the statisticians of the project; and Dr Aravinda Thiagalingam, a Cardiologist based at Westmead Hospital.

Project and administrative staff were also instrumental such as Caroline Wu, who coordinated the administrative aspects of the research, as well as Tony Barry, based at Westmead Hospital, who developed and provided technical support to the text-messages engine and Sandra Bahamad who supported the project management team. 

The publication was highlighted throughout the EPI/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions (PDF) in Phoenix, Arizona, USA in March and was recognised at the Council Dinner.

The team are continuing their work by expanding the message bank to encompass a variety of chronic diseases, are completing economic and process evaluations and also the NHMRC-funded TEXTMEDS trial which extends the work of TEXT ME.

Assoc Prof Clara Chow is Director of the Cardiovascular division of The George Institute, Program Director Community Based Cardiac Services, Westmead Hospital and Associate Professor with the Faculty of Medicine University of Sydney. She has a PhD in Medicine from the University of Sydney and completed a postdoc in Cardiovascular epidemiology and clinical trials at McMaster University, Canada. Clara holds a Career Development Fellowship of the NHMRC co-funded by the National Heart Foundation. Her research focus is clinical and community approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention.