National Evaluation of the Text4Baby Program

 

CITPH, in collaboration with Mathematica Policy Research, was selected by the Health Resources Services Administration to conduct a national evaluation of the implementation and effects of the Text4babysm text messaging program. Text4Baby is an innovative health communication tool that uses mobile technology to reach pregnant and post-partum women. Text4Baby is currently used by over 87,000 women throughout the U.S., and is promoted by an array of public and private organizations.

Text4Baby delivers text messages in a timely and actionable manner. Health messages are brief (160 characters or fewer), evidence-based, tested for health literacy, and timed to reach women when the advice is salient to their pregnancy or postpartum stages. The premise of this mobile communication tool is that text messages can promote and reinforce positive health behaviors (such as multivitamin use, healthy eating, and breastfeeding) and use of recommended services (such as prenatal care, well-child care, and smoking cessation). Over the long term, the spread of positive health behaviors and recommended service use among women during prenatal and postpartum is expected to lead to improved maternal and infant outcomes.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) evaluation under the direction of Mathematica Policy Research shed light on the potential for scaling and sustaining the program, and the role that this technology can play in improving health knowledge, behaviors, and outcomes. The evaluation is designed to be collaborative with HRSA and other partners, flexible to adapt to the realities of data availability and quality, and responsive to the evolving information and programmatic needs as Text4Baby grows and matures.

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