Influenza is now widespread in 35 states across the country. Changes to the immune system during pregnancy make expectant moms more susceptible to the flu, and these women also face a particularly high risk for complications if they get sick. But despite this, roughly half of pregnant women fail to get a seasonal flu shot.
In an effort to increase adherence rates among moms-to-be, Columbia University researchers recently examined the effectiveness of using text message reminders. Psych Central reports:
Women in the intervention group received five weekly text messages about the importance of the vaccine starting in mid-September 2011 and two text message appointment reminders.
Both the intervention group and a control group received standard automated telephone appointment reminders.
The results showed that text messaging was successfully used to increase vaccination coverage.
Adjusting for gestational age and number of clinic visits, women who received the intervention were 30 percent more likely to be vaccinated.
A subgroup of women early in the third trimester had the highest intervention effect – 61.9 percent of the intervention group was vaccinated versus 49 percent for the control group.
The study adds to a growing body of work that shows how mobile health initiatives can help improve public health.
Previously: Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions about seasonal influenza, Flu shots for moms may help prevent babies from being born too small and Examining the effectiveness of text4baby service
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