Text Messaging Programs
Partners Center for Connected Health is employing mobile health to reach new and different patient populations, leveraging technology that is already a part of everyday life—cell phones and texting.
At the Lynn Community Health Center, in an urban community north of Boston, a text messaging program offers young, at-risk pregnant patients support, motivation, and timely education when they need it most.
Participating women and teens receive text messages throughout their pregnancy, providing positive reminders and educational messages that are customized to each patient to encourage these women to get appropriate prenatal care. The program is being expanded throughout the Lynn Community Health Center practice after a pilot suggested that participating patients attended a greater number of recommended prenatal visits more often than those who did not participate.
Similar text messaging programs have helped improve self-care behavior. A text messaging program nearly doubled the adherence of patients applying sunscreen; another program significantly improved treatment adherence, skin severity, and quality of life for dermatology patients with atopic dermatosis, a common form of eczema. Patients enrolled in an opiod addiction treatment program felt better connected to their case managers.
Texting programs have great potential for providing low-cost, accessible educational messaging to patients, and the Center expects to expand these programs significantly over the coming months.
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