Posted on Aug 26, 2015

Text messages may help increase self-reported flu vaccination, study reports

Text messages may help increase self-reported flu vaccination, study reports

Text messages are the fastest and easiest way of communication. People use texting to communicate in endless ways all day and every day. But did you know that texting can also help improve health behavior among pregnant women and new mothers?

A randomized evaluation, led by USF College of Nursing’s Elizabeth Jordan, DNSc, found that influenza text messages using Text4baby were effective at increasing self-reported flu vaccination among pregnant women and new mothers.

Dr. Jordan, who is an associate professor and senior assistant dean for undergraduate programs at USF Nursing, conducted the evaluation in collaboration with the nation’s only mobile health service, Text4baby, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Jordan and her team conducted a program evaluation to assess if text messages help encourage influenza vaccination among Text4baby pregnant women and new mothers. The evaluation examined whether either a text-based reminder or a tailored education message improved self-reported influenza vaccination and continued intent to get vaccinated. To get results, investigators sent text-based surveys to more than 28,000 Text4baby enrollees.

“Text4baby mothers who received a reminder were twice as likely to report they were vaccinated and the odds of vaccination were increased among all participants who reported their status,” said Dr. Jordan. “Also, Text4baby mothers, who initially reported they were not planning to be vaccinated due to cost, were nearly twice as likely to report vaccination at follow-up after receiving a single text on how to access free and low-cost influenza vaccines.”

Dr. Elizabeth Jordan

The randomized evaluation findings can be found online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

According to CDC, pregnant women, new mothers and their infants are at higher risk of health complications from flu symptoms. While most pregnant women and new mothers receive vaccinations, some living in lower income communities are less likely to get the flu shot, CDC reports.

Through this evaluation, Dr. Jordan’s goal was to change health behaviors to help improve the health and well-being of Text4baby pregnant women, new mothers and their infants. Based on the promising results of this evaluation, all Text4baby enrollees now receive a message with information on free and low-cost flu vaccinations and a separate text reminder during flu season.

Text4baby is a free national mobile health service designed to promote maternal and child health through text messaging. The mobile service has more than 900,000 enrollees, which consists of pregnant women and new mothers.

Dr. Jordan, a maternal newborn nursing expert continues to focus her studies on using mobile technologies to educate pregnant women and mothers. She is a recognized national leader in maternal and newborn outcomes research, education and practice. Dr. Jordan joined USF Nursing in 2013 from Johns Hopkins University.

For related stories on Dr. Elizabeth Jordan click here.

Written by Vjollca “V” Hysenlika