The Mobile Insulin Titration Intervention (MITI) for insulin adjustment in an urban, low-income population: Randomized controlled trial

Natalie Levy, Victoria Moynihan, Annielyn Nilo, Karyn Singer, Lidia S. Bernik, Mary Ann Etiebet, Yixin Fang, James Cho, Sundar Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: Diabetes patients are usually started on a low dose of insulin and their dose is adjusted or "titrated" according to their blood glucose levels. Insulin titration administered through face-to-face visits with a clinician can be time consuming and logistically burdensome for patients, especially those of low socioeconomic status (SES). Given the wide use of mobile phones among this population, there is the potential to use short message service (SMS) text messaging and phone calls to perform insulin titration remotely. Objective: The goals of this pilot study were to (1) evaluate if our Mobile Insulin Titration Intervention (MITI) intervention using text messaging and phone calls was effective in helping patients reach their optimal insulin glargine dose within 12 weeks, (2) assess the feasibility of the intervention within our clinic setting and patient population, (3) collect data on the cost savings associated with the intervention, and (4) measure patient satisfaction with the intervention. Methods: This was a pilot study evaluating an intervention for patients requiring insulin glargine titration in the outpatient medical clinic of Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. Patients in the intervention arm received weekday SMS text messages from a health management platform requesting their fasting blood glucose values. The clinic's diabetes nurse educator monitored the texted responses on the platform website each weekday for alarm values. Once a week, the nurse reviewed the glucose values, consulted the MITI titration algorithm, and called patients to adjust their insulin dose. Patients in the usual care arm continued to receive their standard clinic care for insulin titration. The primary outcome was whether a patient reached his/her optimal insulin glargine dose within 12 weeks. Results: A total of 61 patients consented and were randomized into the study. A significantly greater proportion of patients in the intervention arm reached their optimal insulin glargine dose than patients in the usual care arm (88%, 29/33 vs 37%, 10/27; P<.001). Patients responded to 84.3% (420/498) of the SMS text messages requesting their blood glucose values. The nurse reached patients within 2 attempts or by voicemail 91% of the time (90/99 assigned calls). When patients traveled to the clinic, they spent a median of 45 minutes (IQR 30-60) on travel and 39 minutes (IQR 30-64) waiting prior to appointments. A total of 61% (37/61) of patients had appointment copays. After participating in the study, patients in the intervention arm reported higher treatment satisfaction than those in the usual care arm. Conclusions: MITI is an effective way to help low-SES patients reach their optimal insulin glargine dose using basic SMS text messaging and phone calls. The intervention was feasible and patients were highly satisfied with their treatment. The intervention was cost saving in terms of time for patients, who were able to have their insulin titrated without multiple clinic appointments. Similar interventions should be explored to improve care for low-SES patients managing chronic disease. Trial Registration: NCT01879579; (Archived by WebCite at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere180
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


  • Cell phones
  • Health care disparities
  • Insulin
  • Long-acting
  • Patient-centered care
  • Remote consultation
  • Telemedicine
  • Text messaging


Dive into the research topics of 'The Mobile Insulin Titration Intervention (MITI) for insulin adjustment in an urban, low-income population: Randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this