Text messaging for health: simple and it works

This Editor often casts a skeptical eye on short (2.5 month) studies and those sponsored by companies with a vested interest in the patient engagement technology being successful. In this case, the study reinforces earlier findings by the Center for Connected Health and other providers. Sending text messages to Medicaid (low income state-based health insurance program) recipients, even for a short time, proved to be effective. The targeted group was pregnant women plus families with children and teenagers in New York’s Healthfirst Medicaid managed care program. HealthCrowd, the developer, sent this group messages about prenatal care; wellness visits for children; and/or vaccinations. Response rates ranged from 30 to 60 percent; 32 percent took at least one of the suggested actions while the opt-out rate was 3.7 percent. HealthCrowd used their Dynamic Persuasion technology to support the pilot, and “used pertinent member data” to create personalized messages in real time. The study also found that texting Medicaid beneficiaries via HealthCrowd’s text messaging platform was 15 to 100 times more effective at getting the recipients to take action than other forms of communication, such as emails, phone calls and postcards. According to MedCityNews, the messaging was “highly interactive” compared to one-way messaging initiatives that have been previously used by other organizations. iHealthBeat, MedCityNews

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