The Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare is employing mobile health programs to reach more diverse patient populations, leveraging technology that is already a part of everyday life -- cell phones and texting. The Center's Message Connect platform allows clinicians and their practices to send customized message to their patients, reaching individuals in their daily lives.
At the Lynn Community Health Center, one of the most medically underserved communities in Massachusetts, the Center and Partners HealthCare launched a text messaging program for young, at-risk pregnant patients. 25 women participated in this program, which offered informational and supportive text messages throughout their pregnancies and two months post-partum. The goal was to offer the program to younger women who have limited support systems in place and would truly benefit from additional reminders about healthy pregnancy.
The women participating in the program, age 22 on average, received between one and four text messages per week. Results of patient surveys and review of the data showed women who got text messages from their clinical team received the recommended level of pre-natal care 9% more than other pregnant women who did not get text messages.
The text messages were one-way, and designed to encourage patients with positive reminders and educational messages. Text messages were offered in English or Spanish, and each message included a phone number to reach the OB clinical team.
Some of the messages patients received were: “Hi, it’s your OB team reminding you to count your baby’s kicks. Call us if there is a change in frequency,” or “Your OB team is checking in. Have you scheduled your ultrasound? It’s baby picture time! Let us know if we can help.”
“This text messaging program provides another opportunity for healthcare providers to reach out, providing additional support and education that will help to ensure that our patients and their babies will get the right amount of pre-natal care," said Leanne McDermott RN, Lynn Community Health Center. "Through this text messaging program, we saw an improvement in the level of appointments the women had, and it also gave patients a constant reminder of the fact that we care and are only a phone call away.”
As a result of this successful program, the Center is expanding its messaging program for pregnancy and prenatal care, and is developing text messaging campaigns for chronic disease management and health and wellness, including programs to promote activity, better nutrition and healthier living.
Gina Cella, Cella Communications; 781-334-4692; email@example.com