Parent Opinions About Use of Text Messaging for Immunization Reminders

University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita, Pediatrics, Wichita, KS 67214, United States.
Journal of Medical Internet Research (Impact Factor: 3.43). 06/2012; 14(3):e83. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.1976
Source: PubMed


Adherence to childhood immunization schedules is a function of various factors. Given the increased use of technology as a strategy to increase immunization coverage, it is important to investigate how parents perceive different forms of communication, including traditional means and text-message reminders.
To examine current forms of communication about immunization information, parents' satisfaction levels with these communication modes, perceived barriers and benefits to using text messaging, and the ideal content of text messages for immunization reminders.
Structured interviews were developed and approved by two Institutional Review Boards. A convenience sample of 50 parents was recruited from two local pediatric clinics. The study included a demographics questionnaire, the shortened form of the Test of Functional Health Literacy for Adults (S-TOFHLA), questions regarding benefits and barriers of text communication from immunization providers, and preferred content for immunization reminders. Content analyses were performed on responses to barriers, benefits, and preferred content (all Cohen's kappas > 0.70).
Respondents were mostly female (45/50, 90%), white non-Hispanic (31/50, 62%), between 20-41 years (mean = 29, SD 5), with one or two children (range 1-9). Nearly all (48/50, 96%) had an S-TOFHLA score in the "adequate" range. All parents (50/50, 100%) engaged in face-to-face contact with their child's physician at appointments, 74% (37/50) had contact via telephone, and none of the parents (0/50, 0%) used email or text messages. Most parents were satisfied with the face-to-face (48/50, 96%) and telephone (28/50, 75%) communication. Forty-nine of the 50 participants (98%) were interested in receiving immunization reminders by text message, and all parents (50/50, 100%) were willing to receive general appointment reminders by text message. Parents made 200 comments regarding text-message reminders. Benefits accounted for 63.5% of comments (127/200). The remaining 37.5% (73/200) regarded barriers; however, no barriers could be identified by 26% of participants (13/50). Parents made 172 comments regarding preferred content of text-message immunization reminders. The most frequently discussed topics were date due (50/172, 29%), general reminder (26/172, 26%), and child's name (21/172, 12%).
Most parents were satisfied with traditional communication; however, few had experienced any alternative forms of communication regarding immunizations. Benefits of receiving text messages for immunization reminders far outweighed the barriers identified by parents. Few barriers identified were text specific. Those that were, centered on cost if parents did not have unlimited texting plans.

1 Follower
57 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To pilot test the Text Reminders for Immunization Compliance in Kids (TRICKs) program to evaluate its feasibility and potential to increase immunization coverage. Randomized controlled trial (RCT). Pediatric clinic. Parents of newborns being discharged from a local hospital who intended to seek child health care at the University-sponsored pediatric resident and faculty clinic. Text message immunization reminders prior to immunization due dates. Receipt and timeliness of immunizations at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Participants (N=90) were English (83%) or Spanish (17%) speaking. The majority were female (83%), on public insurance (59%), and had adequate health literacy (96%). Parents were married or a member of an unmarried couple (62%). Over 66% had a high school diploma or less. Greater numbers of intervention children received immunizations and were "on time" using per protocol analysis; though not statistically significance. Limitations include sample size, problematic text messaging software, and loss of phone service at 7 months for 40% of intervention parents. However, post-intervention interviews (N=18) indicated strong support for TRICKs; 83% found the text message reminders very helpful and 17% somewhat helpful. Pilot testing allowed us to assess processes, including recruitment, retention, and software, which will increase the success of an RCT. Software with built-in backup systems is needed for follow-up when mobile service is interrupted. However, in spite of limitations, immunization rates were higher in the text message reminder group, though not statistically significant. Parent support and interest was high. A fully powered RCT is needed with follow-up over the full 4-3-1-3-3-1 series. Based on our results, for 80% power where we expected 90% compliance in the intervention group and 80% in the control group we need 219 per group, plus increases to address drop out and loss of follow-up.
    Vaccine 06/2012; 30(36):5305-9. DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.06.058 · 3.62 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Use of mobile technology has made a huge impact on communication, access, and information/resource delivery to adolescents. Mobile technology is frequently used by adolescents. The purpose of this study was to understand the health information needs of adolescents in the context of their everyday lives and to assess how they meet their information needs. We gave 60 adolescents smartphones with unlimited text messaging and data for 30 days. Each smartphone had applications related to asthma, obesity, human immunodeficiency virus, and diet preinstalled on the phone. We sent text messages 3 times per week and asked the following questions: (1) What questions did you have about your health today? (2) Where did you look for an answer (mobile device, mobile application, online, friend, book, or parent)? (3) Was your question answered and how? (4) Anything else? Our participants ranged from 13-18 years of age, 37 (62%) participants were male and 22 (37%) were female. Of the 60 participants, 71% (42/60) participants identified themselves as Hispanic and 77% (46/60) were frequent users of mobile devices. We had a 90% (1935/2150) response rate to our text messages. Participants sent a total of 1935 text messages in response to the ecological momentary assessment questions. Adolescents sent a total of 421 text messages related to a health information needs, and 516 text messages related to the source of information to the answers of their questions, which were related to parents, friends, online, mobile apps, teachers, or coaches. Text messaging technology is a useful tool for assessing adolescents' health behavior in real-time. Adolescents are willing to use text messaging to report their health information. Findings from this study contribute to the evidence base on addressing the health information needs of adolescents. In particular, attention should be paid to issues related to diet and exercise. These findings may be the harbinger for future obesity prevention programs for adolescents.
    Journal of Medical Internet Research 03/2013; 15(3):e54. DOI:10.2196/jmir.2395 · 3.43 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: To assess parental, provider, and medical staff opinions about text message reminder/recall for early childhood vaccination. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted between January and March 2011 among 200 parents of 6-59 month-old children, 26 providers, and 20 medical staff at four academically-affiliated pediatric practices in New York City with text messaging experience. Survey questions addressed interest in, preferences for, and concerns/barriers related to vaccine-related text message reminder/recall. Results: Parents were primarily Latino, Spanish-speaking, and had a high school education or less. Most parents owned a text message-enabled cell phone (89%) and used text messaging services (97%). While 84% had never received health-related text messages, 88% were comfortable receiving them. Nearly all parents reported interest in receiving reminder/recall text messages, many endorsing them over phone calls and/or letters. Preferences included personalization, interactivity, and multiple messages. While 25% of parents had no concerns, 38% were concerned about incorrect numbers; only 6% worried about cost. Providers and staff were also supportive of vaccine-related text messages. Their biggest concerns were correct cell phone numbers, appointment availability, and increased call volume. Conclusion: Text message reminder/recall for early childhood vaccination was widely supported. Important barriers were identified that should be addressed to maximize their effectiveness.
    Preventive Medicine 04/2013; 57(2). DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.04.007 · 3.09 Impact Factor
Show more