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Text Message Flu Vaccine Reminders a Success

A recent study by the Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center explored the effectiveness of text messages as reminders for parents of children who required flu vaccinations. These reminders served to inform parents of a deadline to administer a second dose of the influenza vaccine: a very important booster that helps to protect children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years of age from the flu. Here are the details of the study, originally published in the journal Pediatrics.

The trial conducted between 2012 and 2013 sampled children of 660 families who needed the vaccine booster. The study randomized the families involved, dividing them into three specific groups. Each group received a different kind of correspondence: an “educational” text message, a “conventional” one, or else they received a letter in the mail informing them of the second flu shot. All of the parents were informed of the importance of the second shot upon their first visit; all of the families involved had text message capabilities on their phones.

Each of the three messages had a different method of reaching the parents. In the “conventional” text message and the letter, the parents were only informed of the date in which the next dose should be administered. On the other hand, in the “educational” text message, parents were given additional information about the effects of influenza upon children, and the value of preventative medicine.

The results of the study show the influence that text messages have in marketing campaigns. Families that received the “educational” text message reminder were significantly more likely to turn up for the second dose of the flu vaccine. Over 72% of parents who were in the “educational” condition responded, as compared to about the two-thirds who responded to the “conventional” text message. The families who received reminders in the mail were only 57% likely to respond.

Parents claimed that text message reminders were helpful because they not only provided pertinent information quickly, but they showed that someone actually cared about the well-being of their child. Also, most parents claimed they brought their kids in for the dosage directly because of the reminder (about 60% of the parents in the study). While 70% of the parents involved said it made them bring their children in for a vaccination sooner.

Naturally, this information is very influential for both mobile marketing campaigns and the medical industry. The informative text message is turning out to be the modern day appointment reminder call. Marketing campaigns can take a page out of the medical manual on this one: inform the client of an upcoming appointment, and educate them about the importance of keeping it. Clients are grateful and feel cared for, while organizations yield higher turnouts.



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