249987 CycleTel(TM) in India: Effective Family Planning on Mobile Phones

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:42 AM

Meredith Puleio, BA , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Priya Jha, MA , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, New Delhi, India
Rebecka Lundgren, MPH , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Victoria Jennings, PhD , School of Medicine, Dept of OB/GYN; Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
With CycleTel™ now available in India, family planning is a text message away. CycleTel, a mobile health application developed by Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) with technical support from ThoughtWorks, Inc., supports use of the Standard Days Method® (SDM) of family planning (FP) by alerting a woman of her fertile days via short message service (SMS).

Proof-of-concept testing included focus group discussions (n=54), cognitive interviews (n=18), and manual testing with users (n=100) in two sites, Lucknow and Delhi. During manual testing, women used the service for 2 menstrual cycles and were interviewed at admission, follow-up, and exit. Findings from proof-of-concept testing—including feasibility, acceptability, message content and frequency, willingness-to-pay, and mobile phone usage trends—informed product feasibility and design. Following, we developed software to automate CycleTel, and launched a “test market” with 500 women. Data on service use/users was collected in real-time, viewable on a secure online database. We conducted intercept user interviews with a random sample of users, and exit interviews with women and their husbands at the end of 2 menstrual cycles of use.

Preliminary findings indicate that CycleTel is a feasible, effective innovation for offering SDM directly-to-consumers with potential for a substantial impact in India, in addition to other locations worldwide. Key recommendations include: 1) mHealth interventions require significant formative research before undergoing resource intensive technology development; 2) strong technology partnerships facilitate rapid development and deployment; and 3) bulk of time/effort is spent coordinating deployment infrastructure, and developing/implementing plans for evaluation, scale up and sustainability.

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

Learning Objectives:
1-Participants will be able to explain CycleTel™, a mobile health application to facilitate use of the Standard Days Method® (SDM) of family planning. 2-Participants will be able to identify the steps followed to develop and deploy a mHealth application, in India specifically. 3-Participants will be able to describe the monitoring and evaluation techniques used to evaluate CycleTel.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I manage the CycleTel initiative at IRH, Georgetown. I have been involved in this program since the concept stage.
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.