Guest blog post by Stephen Fishbach, Word Nerd for Mobile Commons. Campaign For America’s Health Centers uses Mobile Commons’ platform to text action alerts to health center advocates. Sign up to receive advocacy text messages by texting ADVOCATE to 69866.
Lower-income and minority populations are notoriously difficult to reach with healthcare information. With text messaging, however, you can reach undeserved populations with health tips, increase medication adherence, encourage smoking cessation, remind patients about their doctors’ appointments, and change people’s behaviors.
That’s why we at Mobile Commons have launched Mobile Commons for Health, a service that’s designed to make it easy for healthcare providers such as community health centers to launch mobile health campaigns of your own. We can help you get reliable information straight into people’s pockets – and start helping your communities live healthier lifestyles.
Encourage Healthy Behaviors with Targeted Text Messaging
At Mobile Commons, we’ve seen firsthand how text messaging can greatly increase healthcare outcomes.
• Working with the New York City Department of Health, we saw text messages double the quit rates of heavy smokers.
• With Planned Parenthood, we’ve seen text messages provide personal answers for teens’ difficult questions.
• With the California Department of Public Health, we connected Californians with vaccination clinics in their communities.
Our new healthcare edition can help you achieve similar outcomes in your own communities. Here’s just a sample of what you can do:
Change Behaviors: Whether you’re encouraging better parenting or helping people quit smoking, changing behaviors is one of the most difficult but vital tasks a healthcare provider can undertake.
A Mobile Commons campaign can help make that difficult process easier. We send targeted messages to people on the device they always have with them, in a way that grabs their attention.
Adherence and Reminders: People often neglect to do what they’re supposed to – even if they know it’s good for them. Now there’s a solution.
Mobile Commons can send adherence reminders and appointment information, timed to people’s schedules. Study after study shows that text messages have a measurable impact on people keeping to their prescribed regimens. By sending targeted information directly to their cell phones, a Mobile Commons campaign provides a non-invasive reminder that can have dramatic results.
One-to-One Counseling & Live Chat: How do you get sensitive health information to people when they need it most? Mobile Commons makes it easy for your health hotline or on-staff educators to provide immediate, personal educational information through a live text “chat” or direct text message.
By combining the immediacy of a personal conversation with the anonymity of texting, a Mobile Commons campaign can connect at-risk populations with your health resources, in a way in which they feel comfortable.
Health Tips: Keep your communities informed with regular health tips. Send out weekly or monthly tips with insight and information about healthy living.
Reach Everyone – No Matter their Income Level
30% of the US population does not have regular access to the Internet and email. Non-English speakers, people with disabilities, and those living near the poverty line often do not have reliable web access. Conversely, it’s these very populations who often have the most need of vital public-health-related communications.
Mobile technology erases the digital divide. Text messaging is more common among underserved populations. Hispanics and African Americans, for example, both use SMS at a rate 3-5 times greater than the general population.
Respecting Patients’ Privacy
Because we know how sensitive healthcare information is, we have also added enhanced privacy features to Mobile Commons for Health. Healthcare companies can block out phone numbers in the web interface, and obscure protected health information. We also have restricted rules around passwords and automatic logoff, to ensure the information’s safety.