Effect of intervention using a messaging app on compliance and duration of treatment in orthodontic patients
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This study aims to determine the effectiveness of a messaging app (WeChat) in improving patients’ compliance and reducing the duration of orthodontic treatment (DOT).
Materials and methods
A randomized controlled trial was performed in a dental hospital and a clinic from August 2012 to May 2015. Orthodontic patients were included at the beginning of treatment. Patients with multiphase treatment or braceless technique were excluded. Participants were randomized to WeChat group (received regular reminders and educational messages) or control group (received conventional management) and were followed up until the treatment was completed. Primary outcome measure was DOT. Others were late and failed attendance, bracket bond failure, and oral hygiene condition.
One hundred twelve patients in each group participated and completed the trial. DOT in WeChat group were 7.3 weeks shorter (P = 0.007). There were less failed attendance (3.1 vs. 10.9 %, P < 0.001), late attendance (20.1 vs. 29.9 %, P < 0.001), and bracket bond failure (11.8 vs. 16.1 %, P < 0.001) in WeChat group than control. There was no difference in orthodontic plaque index nor modified gingivitis index between the two groups before and after treatment. Number of failed attendances was identified as an independent factor affecting DOT (P = 0.004; HR = 0.89, 95 % CI 0.84 to 0.95).
The intervention with WeChat is effective in reducing the treatment duration and bracket bond failure, and improving the attendance in orthodontic patients.
DOT can be reduced by improving patient’s compliance. The messaging app is useful for outpatient education and management.
KeywordsWeChat Orthodontics Patient education Randomized controlled trial Text messaging Telemedicine
The authors wish to thank Hai He for programming and maintaining the relating scripts and Li Ye, Lin Luo, and Ya-Xin Chen for contacting the participants.
Compliance with ethical standards
The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, West China Stomatology Hospital, Chengdu, China, and was conducted in compliance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Written informed consent was obtained from the patients or their guardians prior to the study.
Conflicts of interests
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The authors declared that there were no financial support from any external source regarding the current study.
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