223872 Do parents want text message immunization reminders?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Carolyn R. Ahlers-Schmidt, PhD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita, Wichita, KS
Traci Hart, PhD, MA , Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Amy Chesser, PhD, MA , Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Tuan Nguyen, MD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita, Wichita, KS
Angelia M. Paschal, PhD, MEd , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Robert Wittler, MD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita, Wichita, KS
BACKGROUND: Patient reminders have been effective in increasing immunization levels among adults, and a randomized trial found children receiving appointment reminders were more likely to be up-to-date with their immunizations. While e-mail reminders are common, low-income families may not have access to computers. However, cell phones are accessible and widely used among all income groups. OBJECTIVE/PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess whether parents are interested in receiving text message reminders for childhood immunizations from their doctor's office. METHODS: Two-hundred parents of children under 6 years of age who were scheduled at the pediatric outpatient clinic were asked to complete the survey. RESULTS: Surveys were completed by 190 parents (95%). The majority were female (87%) and received public insurance (81%). Nearly all participants owned a cellular phone (92%) and of those, 96% could receive text messages; 81% had unlimited text plans. Of cell phone owners, 90% would be open to receiving text messages from their doctor, including appointment reminders (94%), immunization reminders (81%), test results (72%), and even general health tips (41%). Most (79%) prefer to receive immunization reminders one week or less before the shots are due. Most interested parents (66%) would only enroll if the program was free or covered by insurance. Parents with unlimited text capabilities were more likely (97%) to be open to receiving text messages from health care providers than those with limited text plans (64%) (2(1)=32.98,p<.001). DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS: Parents receiving public insurance were likely to have a cellular phone with text message capabilities and most would be willing to receive immunization or other reminders from their physician's office via text. Parents with unlimited texting were more willing to receive text messages from physicians, but 4 out of 5 parents have unlimited texting, so this does not appear to be a major barrier.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to (a) explain the importance of utilizing new technology in patient/provider communication; (b) discuss the feasibility of implementing a text message reminder system with parents to reduce disparities in immunizations; and (c) describe the process for assessing parental attitudes regarding technology.

Keywords: Children's Health, Immunizations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the Director of Research for the Department of Pediatrics at KUSM-W and directed this specific project from conception to dissemination.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.