A preliminary study of Text4Baby's impact found that the service made an impact, according to a new study from researchers at UC San Diego Health System's Department of Reproductive Medicine and the National Latino Research Center (NLRC) at Cal State San Marcos University.
Text4Baby is a free, SMS-based health information service for new and expectant mothers. The service, which launched in February of 2010, now has almost 250,000 subscribers thanks to its impressive collection of public and private sector marketing partnerships.
Voxiva, which powers the Text4Baby service, launched Text2Quit this summer, a similar service for smoking cessation. Alere is offering the smoking cessation service thanks to a licensing agreement with Voxiva.
The Text4Baby study took place in San Diego County and involved in-person interviews with 38 women and phone surveys of 122 women. More than 2,200 individuals have enrolled in the program in the San Diego area.
The results of the study revealed high satisfaction with the program, especially from Spanish-speaking women. About 63 percent of respondents said that text4baby "helped them remember an appointment or immunization that they or their child needed"; 75.4 percent reported that text4baby messages "informed them of medical warning signs they did not know"; and 71.3 percent reported "talking to their doctor about a topic that they read on a text4baby message."
"Initial research indicates text4baby is increasing users' health knowledge, facilitating interaction with health providers, improving adherence to appointments and immunizations and strengthening access to health services," stated Yvette Lacoursiere, MD, MPH, UC San Diego Health System Department of Reproductive Medicine, in a press release.
Text4Baby is not without its critics, though. Dr Joel Selanikio, the co-founder of another mobile health services provider, DataDyne, wrote in a blog post in March that the small reach of the Text4Baby program was not worth the extent of its funding and promotion by the government: “So in the end, after millions of dollars, use of a professional ad agency, White House promotion, and one year they’ve reached about 2 percent of the 6 million pregnant women in the US,” Selanikio wrote. “Two percent? If that is success, I’d hate to see what failure looks like.” Selanikio's math was based on Text4Baby's 100,000 users at the time.
In response, Judy Meehan, CEO of National Healthy Mothers and the Healthy Babies Coalition wrote a rebuttal on MobiHealthNews last April. A nationwide evaluation of Text4Baby by the HHS is still forthcoming.
Read the press release after the jump.
PRESS RELEASE -- Text4baby mobile service shows positive results for new moms
San Diego researchers first in nation to provide study evaluations
Researchers at UC San Diego Health System's Department of Reproductive Medicine and the National Latino Research Center (NLRC) at Cal State San Marcos University recently presented data at the American Public Health Association Conference in Washington D.C., demonstrating the impact of text4baby, a free mobile service that provides pregnant women and new mothers in San Diego with maternal, fetal and newborn health information via text messages and connects them to national health resources.
The study, funded by the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, took place with text4baby users in San Diego County and included interviews with 38 women and a phone survey with 122 users.
"Initial research indicates text4baby is increasing users' health knowledge, facilitating interaction with health providers, improving adherence to appointments and immunizations and strengthening access to health services," said Yvette Lacoursiere, MD, MPH, UC San Diego Health System Department of Reproductive Medicine.
The top study findings are:
Women reported high satisfaction with text4baby, with Spanish-speaking women reporting even higher satisfaction scores than English‐speaking women.
63.1 percent of women reported that text4baby helped them remember an appointment or immunization that they or their child needed.
75.4 percent reported that text4baby messages informed them of medical warning signs they did not know.
71.3 percent reported talking to their doctor about a topic that they read on a text4baby message.
"These results show that mobile technology is an emerging force in health care. Text4baby provides an easy, free service to patients with a variety of resources that improve the health care of both the new parent and their baby," said LaCoursiere.
The San Diego research team is the first in the nation to evaluate the text4baby service through partnerships with the National Latino Research Center, San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, Voxiva, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition and the San DiegoText4Baby Coalition.
To date, more than 2,200 individuals have enrolled and used text4baby in San Diego. Expectant new parents can enroll in the service by simply texting "baby," or "bebe" for Spanish language messages, to 511411.
Read blog post from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy about the study results: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/11/02/text4baby-shows-promising-resu...