Verizon grants $25K for Text4Baby-like service

By Brian Dolan

The Verizon Foundation announced a $25,000 grant to expand the Center for Connected Health's text messaging program that aims to help keep at-risk pregnant women engaged in their health and to provide ongoing prenatal and post-natal support for them. The grant will help the Partners HealthCare subsidiary examine the "feasibility and acceptability" of text messaging to offer health care services for this population.

The program sounds a lot like two other ones we have written about in the past: Text4Baby and Johnson & Johnson's BabyCenter.

Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter service: Subscribers receive weekly texts chock full of pregnancy advice. Once the baby arrives, the Parenting Tips service sends new parents helpful parenting tips twice a week till three months.

Text4Baby is a service (expected to launch in a few weeks) that will provide free tips via text messages to mothers three times a week before their baby’s birth. The service’s reminders include ones for taking multi-vitamins, getting flu shots, and so on. After the birth, the mother is reminded about vaccinations, and other health issues. The service has some 300 text messages in the hopper. The White House has been working alongside Voxiva, the National Healthy Mothers-Healthy Babies Coalition, CDC, and others on the program.

"The Verizon Foundation is supporting unique and important research in the delivery of quality healthcare, and we are honored to again be recognized by the Foundation for our work," Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Director, Center for Connected Health stated in a press release. "This funding will enable us to expand this innovative text messaging program to a larger patient population of at-risk pregnant women. The Center has been exploring the benefits of text messaging and we are excited about the possibilities that text messaging offers in helping patients stay engaged in their care."