12-month study demonstrates efficacy of text4baby program

A year-long evaluation of text4baby, a free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health through text messaging, has found the program to be effective, according to an announcement of the results.

The findings are based on a survey developed by researchers from the National Latino Research Center (NLRC) at California State University San Marcos and the University of California San Diego, with support from the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, which was administered to 631 unique text4baby users in San Diego. The survey results "indicate that text4baby is increasing users' health knowledge, facilitating interaction with health providers, reminding them of their appointments and immunizations, and improving access to health services."

Among the findings:

  • 65 percent reported that text4baby helped them remember an appointment or immunization.
  • 74 percent reported that text4baby messages informed them of medical warning signs they did not know.
  • 67 percent reported talking to their doctor about a topic they read about in a text4baby message.
  • 40 percent reported that they called a service or phone number they received from a text4baby message.
  • 50 percent of participants without health insurance reported calling a service number; and they were more likely to call a service number than those with insurance.

"The text4baby service is a leading innovation in maternal and infant health promotion and the study results show compelling evidence for its capability to reach underserved populations and deliver valuable and relevant information," said Arcela Nunez Alvarez, PhD interim NLRC Director.

This research study supports findings from the first randomized evaluation of the U.S.-based text4baby mHealth program. The pilot study published in late November 2012 found texting to be a "promising program" for new mothers in which "exposure to the text messages was associated with changes in specific beliefs targeted by the messages."

Launched in February 2010, text4baby was created in partnership with founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson, and founding partners Voxiva, CTIA-the Wireless Foundation, and Grey Healthcare Group. The program's content, which provides pregnant women and new moms with critical health and safety information via text message including information about immunization, nutrition, birth defect prevention, and safe sleep, is developed by health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, March of Dimes, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To learn more:
- read the announcement