HHS: EHR data to be used in Text4Baby study

By Chris Gullo

Text4babyPhoneAn upcoming efficacy study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Text4Baby SMS service will make use of electronic health records (EHR) data, according to an announcement in the US Federal Register.

Text4Baby is a free, SMS-based health information service for new and expectant mothers. Text4Baby launched in February of 2010 and currently has more than 190,000 subscribers via a number of public and private sector partnerships. Voxiva, which powers the Text4Baby service, recently launched Text2Quit, a similar service for smoking cessation. Alere is offering the smoking cessation service thanks to a licensing agreement with Voxiva.

On a project proposal posted on the Federal Register, the HHS wrote that "the goal of this program evaluation is to examine the characteristics of women who utilize the Text4Baby mobile phone-based program, to assess their experience with the program, and to determine whether enrollment in Text4Baby is associated with healthy behaviors and timely access to health care during pregnancy and an infant's first year of life."

According to the Federal Register's notice, respondents who consent to the release of their EHRs will have that data linked with responses to a mobile phone survey. The study survey women while they are pregnant and once again "approximately nine months later" some time after their baby is born. The study will also include focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and key informant interviews.

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Read more details over at iHealthBeat here and read the Federal Register release here.