Adding educational health content to text reminders for influenza vaccines improves the effectiveness of those texts, when compared with written reminders and texts that do not offer extra health information, according to a study of 660 children published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Between 2012 and 2013, researchers recruited families of 6-month through 8-year-old children from three community clinics in New York City after they received their first influenza vaccination. The families were randomly sorted into different groups. The first group received a text message reminder with educational health information, the second received a conventional text message, and the last group only got a written reminder.
Everyone in the study initially received the written reminder with the next dose due date. The conventional text messages sent after the first appointment offered another reminder about the second due date as well as the clinic's walk-in hours. The educational text messages offered additional information about why it is important to receive the second influzena vaccination in a timely manner.
Then, researchers assessed whether participants received the second dose in a timely manner based on if participants had gotten the second dose within two weeks of the due date. They found that 72.7 percent of participants in the educational text group received the dose by the due date, while 66.7 percent of those in the conventional group had and 57.1 percent of those in the written reminder group received the dose on time.
Most families in the study were Latino and publicly insured.