Mobile phones are everywhere and text messages have become a common—although at some times frustrating—form of communication. You may not think of text messaging as a medium with much impact, but these organizations prove it has tremendous power. Companies like Eos Health and Limeade already have great mobile interfaces for wellness programs. We can’t wait to see how text messaging will be applied in the employer space too.
Text4Baby is a free service provided by mHealth and was officially launched by the White House on February 4, 2010. The service provides at least three text messages a week to expecting mothers reminding them of doctor’s appointments, explaining experiences they may be going through and providing suggestions to keep mother and baby healthy. The goal of the service is to lower the infant mortality public health crisis in the United States, where an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday. To enroll, women simply need to text “BABY” or “BEBE” in Spanish to 511411.
Text To Change
Text To Change (TTC) is an organization that aims to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS through education. In Uganda, TTC started a program that sends an interactive, multiple-choice quiz to cell phone users on general HIV/AIDS related information. The program is incentive-based, with participants being rewarded with free counseling and testing at Voluntary Counseling and Testing centers and the possibility of free air-time for their cell phone for correct answers.
The Praekelt Foundation launched Stage 1 of Project Masiluleke in South African in 2008-2009. The project’s goal is to find solutions for the country’s growing AIDS pandemic. One of the major problems with the spread of the disease is the low number (roughly 5% of the adult population) of people who are aware of their HIV-status. Project Masiluleke is designed to help bring more people in to get tested, allow individuals to get tested privately in their own homes and increase treatment effectiveness by supporting patients who are HIV positive. Each stage utilizes the availability of mobile phone technology throughout South Africa and takes advantage of the comparatively low cost associated with a mobile phone based educational campaign
Currently, CONFIDANT offers two mobile phone-based programs on diabetes and weight management. The programs work by using the phone to upload information from a home medical device and transmitting it to a centralized server, and possibly the patient’s doctor. Once the information has been collected, it is analyzed and appropriate feedback is returned to the patient’s cell phone in regards to their status. This all happens in real-time, so patients are instantly aware of changes they need to make to their medication, diet or if they should see their doctor. CONFIDANT also sends comments, notes and reminders to help coach positive behaviors and monitor status. In the future, programs for prescription compliance and renewal and disease management programs will also be available.
Based in San Francisco, SEXINFO is a program designed to assist young adults with sex education. The program is a sexual health text messaging service that sends text messages to interested individuals about issues involving sex and sex education. The program is completely opt-in, and to get assistance youths just need to text the word “SEXINFO” to a specified 5-digit number. Once the call is initiated, individuals are routed to a phone tree with codes instructing them on how to proceed. For example, “B2 if u think ur pregnant,” “C3 to find out about STDs,” or “F8 if ur not sure u want to have sex.”
No diagnoses are made through the program, instead all messaging includes basic information and if needed, includes a referral for an in-person consultation. Along with the mobile portion of the program there is also a companion Web site, SexInfoSF, where parents and others can see samples of the messages the young adults may receive.
The device includes a timer and heart monitor and allows you to program the level of your workout (easy, medium, hard). After the workout is over, you can track your progress with graphs and other analysis tools. The tracker also has a companion Web site, Nokia Sports Tracker, where users can share workouts, upload and store training diaries and encourage other users.