November 23, 2011 — A small study of participants in Text4baby, a text message service that sends health advice to pregnant women, shows the program is highly effective at encouraging women to talk to their doctors, remember appointments and take other healthy steps, Fierce Mobile Healthcare reports (Jackson, Fierce Mobile Healthcare, 11/17). The program, which launched in February 2010, is sponsored by the federal government, the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, wireless providers and several health industry companies (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/5/10).
For the study, funded by the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, researchers from the University of California-San Diego and California State University-San Marcos surveyed 160 California women in person or over the phone. According to findings, almost 75% of participants said they learned of medical warning signs in their pregnancies that they would not have known about without Text4baby. More than 70% of participants said they were prompted by the text messages to discuss certain topics with their physicians.
In addition, 63% of participants said the messages helped them remember appointments and ensure they received proper immunizations. The study also found that women who speak Spanish were more satisfied with the service than English-speaking women.
Hilary Chen, senior adviser to the deputy director for policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said HHS is studying ways to evaluate the program at a national level (Fierce Mobile Healthcare, 11/17).