237764 Launching the first national, free, and bilingual text messaging service for poisoning prevention tips and home safety

Monday, October 31, 2011

Iana M. Simeonov , California Poison Control System/UCSF School of Pharmacy, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Kristina M. Hamm, MPH , California Poison Control System, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Cell phones enable real-time action and engagement. In the U.S. 88% own a mobile phone and 60% of users carry cell phone “at all times”. 98% of cell phones can send and receive texts. In 2009, more texts where sent per phone than calls made in the U.S. Immigrant workers are some of the most advanced users of mobile communications worldwide. That trend is present in the U.S., with Latinos depending on their cell phones for more services than other large ethnic groups. Poisoning is the 2nd leading cause of injury to children 0-5 in the U.S. and Latino children are at greater risk.

To test mobile as an outreach tool within a comprehensive social marketing intervention for low-income English and Spanish speaking consumers, a free poisoning prevention/home safety text messaging service was established. Consumers had to opt-in and received 1 topical or seasonal message per week.

Developing an Short Messaging Service (SMS) from the ground up required assessing numerous mobile campaigns, investigating short code acquisition, identifying a gateway and technology platform, reliably creating engaging copy with broad appeal in only 140 characters, managing broadcasts, and promoting through indigenous community networks, health workers, conventional and social media.

The service averaged ~70 opt-ins daily, with 10-2 English vs. Spanish. Peaks were noticeable and could be tied to specific marketing promotions. Opt-outs were infrequent at 3 of 70 subscribers. Media mentions were numerous.

SMS campaigns are a valuable, measurable and cost-effective complement to social marketing but need aggressive, targeted promotion to succeed.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the process required to concept, develop and launch a text-messaging service 2. Identify how text-messaging fits into an overall outreach strategy 3. Discuss key factors related to measuring the success of a text messaging campaign

Keywords: Health Communications, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Presenter at the following in 2010: APHA, MIH mHealth Forum, CDC National Conference on Health Marketing (3rd year presenting), NACCT (8th year presenting)
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.