Text Messaging Helping to Keep People Healthy

May 1, 2012
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A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says a pilot program that asked parents in low-income communities to get their children vaccinated was successful in increasing the percentage of people who received shots. The way they asked? Text messaging. flu shots

A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says a pilot program that asked parents in low-income communities to get their children vaccinated was successful in increasing the percentage of people who received shots. The way they asked? Text messaging. flu shots

Parents of 9,213 children and adolescents received five text messages a week during the 2010-2011 cold and flu season. The messages gave parents a link to a flu shot registration website, educational material and information about Saturday clinics.

Of that initial group, 7,574 had notreceived the influenza vaccine before the study start date. As of March 31, 2011, 43.6% of children and adolescents in the study group whose parents were texted received shots compared to 39.9% of children whose parents did not receive texts.

This method was extremely out-of-the-box because very rarely do you get general information via text. Usually, texts come from people you know or companies trying to sell you something.

According to the study, 91% of Americans have a cell phone, and nearly all cell phones these days support text messaging. For reaching under-served and low-income populations, text messaging is an effective medium of communication. Texting has a 100% read rate and tends to have an extremely high response rate, too.

It’s just another way new technology and new forms of communication are helping in healthcare.

 

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