Online Program

Using text-messages for real-time evaluation in health programming: Increasing response rates through reminder texts

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Stephanie Grutzmacher, PhD, Department of Family Studies, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Lindsey Zemeir, Maryland Food Supplement Nutrition Education, Columbia
Laryessa Worthington, Maryland Food Supplement Nutrition Education, Columbia, MD
Erin Braunscheidel, MHS, RD, LDN, Extension - FSNE Program, University of Maryland, Columbia, MD
Ashley Munger, MS, School of Public Health, Department of Family Science, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD
Nicole Finkbeiner, PhD, Extension - FSNE Program, University of Maryland, Columbia, MD
Lisa Lachenmayr, Director, MD Food Supplement Nutrition Education Program, Extension - FSNE Program, University of Maryland, Columbia, MD
Introduction: The use of text message programs to supplement or deliver health interventions has increased in recent years. One unique feature of text messaging is that it can be used to obtain real-time evaluation for interventions, such as assessing target health behaviors. The Text2BHealthy program, a nutrition and physical activity text message program for low-income parents, utilizes text messages to both deliver content and to assess whether participants engaged in suggested behaviors. For example, parents may be sent a message suggesting a specific behavior. After approximately one week they are texted an evaluation question, asking whether they completed the behavior. Those who respond are asked a follow-up question. This study describes the extent to which sending messages reminding participants to respond to texted evaluation questions increased response rates.

Methods: Four texted evaluation questions were sent to Text2BHealthy participants (N = 323-327 for each text). One evaluation question was sent without a reminder to respond; the others included a reminder. Response rates for texted evaluation and follow-up questions were compared for evaluation texts sent with and without reminder texts that prompted participants to respond.

Results: When no reminder texts were sent, approximately 33% of participants responded to the evaluation text; of those who responded to the evaluation text, 88% responded to the follow-up question. When reminder texts were sent, response rates for evaluation texts ranged from 43-51%, and 92-93% for follow-up questions.

Discussion: Reminding or prompting participants to respond to texted evaluation questions may be important for achieving increased response rates.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the potential of text messages for real-time evaluation in health programming Identify strategies to increase response rates for texted evaluation questions

Keyword(s): Technology, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted data collection and analysis of process and outcome evaluations for Text2BHealthy.
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.