International Stroke Conference 2012: Mobile health service serves as catalyst to maternal, infant well-being

March 1, 2012

Despite decades of public health outreach and education, more than 500,000 premature babies are born in the United States each year with approximately 28,000 children dying before their first birthday, according to research presented at the Mobile Healthcare Communications 2012: Case Studies and Roundtables, hosted by Business Development Institute, in New York City.

Despite decades of public health outreach and education, more than 500,000 premature babies are born in the United States each year with approximately 28,000 children dying before their first birthday, according to research presented at the Mobile Healthcare Communications 2012: Case Studies and Roundtables, hosted by Business Development Institute, in New York City.

In an effort to demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology to address a critical national health problem in maternal and child health, text4baby text-messaging service emerged as a free way for mothers in the United States to access information and healthcare that may help reduce their risk of experiencing negative birth outcomes. Funded by Johnson & Johnson, text4baby is the result of a broad public-private partnership, and has the support of CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, Voxiva, and is housed by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB).

More than 1 billion women in low- and middle-income countries around the globe own a mobile phone. In addition, the majority of pregnant women worldwide have only 1 prenatal visit with a healthcare professional before they give birth.

Text4baby provides health information and resources through text messages to help pregnant women and new mothers obtain information about infant and family health. Messages cover a range of topics critical to maternal and child health. Text4baby is available in English and Spanish and doesn't require a smartphone, computer, or tablet device. Messages are timed to mother's due date or baby's birth date, and continue through baby's first year.

HMHB works with a range of partners including local and state health departments, health systems and providers, community-based organizations, health plans, universities, social service and Women, Infants and Children centers, and professional organizations to promote text4baby to pregnant woman, new moms, and other community members.

Preliminary research conducted shows that it increases users' health knowledge, facilitates interaction with healthcare providers, and improves appointment and immunization adherence and healthcare access.