Survey: Text service improves healthcare engagement, compliance among expectant, new mothers

SAN DIEGO — A free mobile service providing healthcare information via text message helped improve both engagement with healthcare providers and compliance with regimens, researchers revealed Tuesday.

The free mobile service, Text4baby, provided pregnant women and new mothers in San Diego with maternal, fetal and newborn health information via text messages and connected them to national health resources. Funded by the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, the study took place with Text4baby users in San Diego County and included interviews with 38 women and a phone survey with 122 users.

“Initial research indicates Text4baby is increasing users’ health knowledge, facilitating interaction with health providers, improving adherence to appointments and immunizations and strengthening access to health services,” stated Yvette Lacoursiere, of the University of California, San Diego Health System Department of Reproductive Medicine.

Women reported high satisfaction with Text4baby, with Spanish-speaking women reporting even higher satisfaction scores than English‐speaking women. As many as 63.1% of women reported that Text4baby helped them remember an appointment or immunization that they or their child needed. Approximately 75.4% reported that Text4baby messages informed them of medical warning signs they did not know. And 71.3% reported talking to their doctor about a topic that they read on a Text4baby message.

“These results show that mobile technology is an emerging force in health care," LaCoursiere said. "Text4baby provides an easy, free service to patients with a variety of resources that improve the health care of both the new parent and their baby."

The San Diego research team is the first in the nation to evaluate the Text4baby service through partnerships with the National Latino Research Center, San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, Voxiva, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition and the San Diego Text4Baby Coalition.

To date, more than 2,200 individuals have enrolled and used Text4baby in San Diego. Expectant new parents can enroll in the service by simply texting “baby,” or “bebe” for Spanish language messages, to 511411.

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