Over the past few years the rate of US infant mortality has been rising. More than 500,000 babies are born premature and around 28,000 children die in the very first year of their birth – sobering statistics for a country with such advanced medical capabilities. Because of this, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) have partnered with several major cellular carriers to create Text4Baby, a new, free mobile information service designed to bring timely health information to expectant and new moms.
According to a recent report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Health Research, delivering health information via text messaging is an up-and-coming trend for healthcare providers, enabling them to easily reach patients who are most in need of monitoring. Since key predictors of a child’s’ chance for survival are birth weight and gestational age, moms-to-be are prime candidates for this kind of communication.
Text4baby promotes maternal and child health by offering health-related information through SMS text messages. Women can sign up for the service by texting “BABY” to 511411 (or “BEBE” in Spanish) and will receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. The messages deal with diverse topics including: birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. The Text4baby service also connects women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.
According to Chopra“text4baby is the first free mobile health service to be taken to scale in the United States. We know that mobile phones hold tremendous potential to inform and empower individuals…Text4baby represents an extraordinary opportunity to expand the way we use our phones, to demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology, and make a real difference for moms and babies across the country.”
Texting for healthy babies – sometimes a little innovation can be a powerful combination.