223896 Including health literacy in 160 characters or less: Creating a text messaging system for immunization education

Monday, November 8, 2010

Carolyn R. Ahlers-Schmidt, PhD , Department of Pediatrics, 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
Beryl Yaghmai, MD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita, Wichita, KS
Sapna Shah, MD , 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
BACKGROUND: Programs that promote the 4-3-1-3-3 shot series among children two years old and younger greatly reduce preventable childhood diseases. In the past, computers have generated automated calls and e-mails for appointment reminders to families. However, these programs require access to computers, which most low-income, non-English-speaking families may not have. Mobile phones are accessible and widely used among all income groups. Because of this, texting messaging reminders and related immunization information might help increase parental health literacy regarding immunizations. OBJECTIVE/PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to develop an intervention to improve parent's health literacy through an innovative text messaging system regarding immunization schedules for kids. METHODS: Structured interviews were held with 50 English- and 50 Spanish-speaking parents. The interview included demographic information, questions about current technology use and ability, and the S-TOFHLA. Participants then engaged in one of three human factors assessments (card sort, needs analysis or comprehension testing) to help identify optimal content for text messages. RESULTS: Parents can differentiate between what is critical information (e.g. physician's name and phone number) and what is unnecessary information (e.g. how the vaccine-preventable disease spreads). In addition, health literacy appears to be less than “adequate” in the Medicaid population and this may influence the critical information that should appear in text messages for immunization reminders. In addition, Spanish-speaking parents identified slightly different optimal content for messages than English-speaking parents. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS: This study successfully utilized human factors strategies in the creation of culturally sensitive immunization schedule information to enhance parental health literacy regarding immunizations and increase the use of this preventive care in underserved children.

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) describe the processes used to do a card sort, needs assessment and comprehension testing; (b) explain the impact of utilizing Human Factors testing in the development of messages for parents with low health literacy; and (c) identify the importance of developing culturally appropriate messages to improve health literacy.

Keywords: Health Literacy, 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 the Principal Investigator on this project.
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.