Last week the key stakeholders in the Text4Baby maternal health initiative met at the White House. The service, which plans to provide free tips to mothers three times a week before their baby's birth, includes reminders to take a multi-vitamin, to get a flu shot, and so on. After the birth, the mother is reminded about vaccinations, and other health issues. When it was originally announced in June, Text4Baby had a September launch date: As the month comes to a close we wonder if a launch is imminent.
The service's proposed website: text4baby.com is still "under construction" but the service does have a Twitter account outfitted with the slick piece of marketing at the left of this article.
Voxiva, along with the National Healthy Mothers-Healthy Babies Coalition, CDC, the White House, and others plan to launch the free Text4Baby service because the United States has one of the worst infant mortality rates, which is highly concentrated in lower-educated, minority populations. It just so happens that the technology penetration in this demographic shows that 85 percent use text messaging.
Despite only coming to light in June of this year, by July representatives from the White House were already excited about Text4Baby and discussing it at industry events:
“I want to talk about two different examples of the ways the administration is eager to move forward on these technologies. One is identifying public-private partnerships. There is one under development, called Text4Baby, that would allow for the delivery of periodic messages to expecting mothers reminding them of basic healthcare needs," Dr. Dan Fletcher, an adviser to the White House Office of Science and Technology, told an audience at a CTIA organized event in Washington D.C. earlier this year. "The aim of using that same technology that is in everybody’s pockets, text messaging capability, and builds on the work that Voxiva has done with assistance from CDC. The government can play a role in this [by helping to] reach those populations most in need for this information and [by identifiying] the ways in which expanding this overall infrastructure might impact healthcare.”
It is Voxiva's hope that the impact of a successful initiative like Text4Baby could have global potential and can help steer real change in outcomes, which is its goal. Voxiva has noted in the past that it learned when developing mobile health applications, it’s important to remember that it needs to be people-focused, with engaging messages, and needs to begin by looking at what technology people are using right now.
Stay tuned for an official launch soon.