We have been tracking the soft launch of the White House's free mobile health service for expectant mothers, Text4baby, since early last year. While the service was planned to launch in the fall of 2009, a recent presentation from the Text4Baby team explains that the service launched this month and plans to begin marketing through partners in February. The service appears to have soft launched in parts of New York and Virgina. Here's how Text4Baby describes itself:
"A free mobile information service designed to promote safe pregnancy and healthy birth outcomes, particularly among underserved populations. An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition(HMHB), text4baby will help women in having safe and healthy pregnancies by providing them with information they need to give their babies the best possible start in life. Text4baby is the largest national mobile health initiative to date and is being launched by an unprecedented group of public and private partners, including the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."
Text4Baby's stated goals are fourfold: 1) Demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology to address a critical national health priority: maternal and child health. 2) Demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology to reach underserved populations with critical health information. 3) Develop a base of evidence on the efficacy of mobile health interventions. 4) Catalyze new models for public-private partnerships in the area of mobile health.
Here's Text4Baby's full list of initial partners and their respective roles:
- National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (lead partner + content + program coordination)
- White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (coordination of federal participation)
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (content + outreach)
- CTIA-The Wireless Foundation (coordination with mobile operators)
- Johnson & Johnson (founding corporate sponsor)
- Voxiva (technology infrastructure + program coordination)
- WPP (marketing + PR)
- The George Washington University (evaluation)
- WellPoint (sponsorship + outreach + evaluation)
- BabyCenter (content + promotion)
Related Article: Text4Baby: “High profile” demo for mobile health