First Text4Baby then Quit4Baby, TextFit

By Brian Dolan
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text4babyAt the Mobile Health 2010 event at Stanford University this week, Paul Meyer, CEO of Voxiva, skyped in to discuss the recent launch and progress of Text4Baby and plans for two new add-on services for Text4Baby: Quit4Baby and TextFit. Meyer said Quit4Baby will be a smoking cessation text message powered service for new and expectant mothers. TextFit is a text message service centered on nutrition, however, it wasn't clear whether it would also specifically target expectant mothers like the other two services.

Text4Baby is the simplest service Voxiva has ever created, according to Meyer. He likes to describe it as the SMS version of What to Expect When You're Expecting. Text4Baby currently has more than 250 partners around the US, including 57 health plans and 40 official statewide coalitions, that are promoting the service.

Voxiva wanted to create Text4Baby to demonstrate that SMS is relevant to everyone. There are an "awful lot of people" who don’t want or don't have iPhones, Meyer said.

"When I hear clients say that there mobile strategy is an iPhone app, I think, that’s great but what about the other 95 percent of people?" Meyer asked. "Infant mortality [is especially prevalent among] lower income populations and they certainly don’t have iPhones," Meyer said. "But they do have text."

Text4Baby's chief marketing partner is WPP Group, which has created a series of promotional materials including print posters that include the service's shortcode. The HHS is distributing 600,000 of these posters to various clinics across the country, Meyer said.

According to Meyer the two states with the highest penetration of Text4Baby users currently are Virginia and Oklahoma, which are neck-and-neck for Text4Baby subscribers.

"We have most of the health delivery system and much of the public health system working actively to spread the word about Text4Baby," Meyer said. "[In the process, we are] also opening their eyes about mobile health."