Text4baby is a service that delivers periodic text messages to expecting mothers reminding them of basic healthcare needs. It’s a free mobile information service designed to promote healthy pregnancy, and given that US that the second worst IMR of all developed countries, it makes sense. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 will receive free (i.e. not charged to the receiver’s account) SMS text messages each week, timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth.
It’s a public private partnership that provides this educational program. The list is impressive: CTIA, HMHB, Johnson & Johnson, WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BCBS, BabyCenter, George Washington University and MTV Networks among others. U.S. government partners include the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Military Health System. The mobile health platform is provided by Voxiva and fifteen U.S. carriers have agreed to carry the program’s text messages at no cost for two full years.
91% of US residents have a cellphone, compared to 22% that have internet connectivity. Educating pregnant women and new moms with information they need to take care of own and baby’s health is a powerful preventive measure. So there is reach and utility in this idea, no doubt.
Note: Found interesting background about Voxiva. They started in 1999 with the idea that mobile phones were going to play an important part in health going forward. They now have a technology platform and provide mobile health solutions in about 14 countries (mostly developing countries like India, Mexico, Rwanda, Peru). They market and sell to public health agencies and government providers usually, but are moving into pharma and provider networks now. An insightful interview with their founder here.