Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new recommendations to support health text messaging and mobile health (mHealth) programs. The department has been actively exploring means to capitalize on the rapid proliferation of mobile phone technology and platforms, such as text messaging, to develop programs and/or partnerships with the overall aim of improving public health outcomes. The potential to provide citizens with an expansive level of access to health resources can help HHS achieve its goal of a healthier nation and help individuals and families get critical information that can improve — and even save — their lives.
In November 2010, HHS established the Text4Health Task Force as part of the agency’s commitment to promoting innovation at HHS. The task force, comprised of public health experts across HHS, was charged with providing recommendations for HHS’ role in encouraging and developing health text messaging initiatives which would deliver health information and resources to individuals via their mobile phones. The report recommends that: 1) HHS develop and host evidence-based health text message libraries that leverage HHS’ rich and scientifically-based information, 2) HHS develop further evidence on the effectiveness of health text messaging programs, and 3) HHS explore and develop partnerships to create, implement and disseminate health text messaging and mHealth programs. The full HHS Text4Health Task Force recommendations are available for public comment at http://www.hhs.gov/open.
Since January 2010, and consistent with these recommendations, HHS has invested $5 million dollars to develop its eHealth/mHealth smoking cessation resources aimed at increasing quitting attempts among teens, young adults and adults. Today, HHS is pleased to launch several new initiatives that have been guided by the HHS Text4Health Task Force.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health is launching the SmokeFreeTXT program, a mobile smoking cessation service specifically designed for teens and young adults across the United States. The service is an extension of the core smoking cessation website, www.smokefree.gov, which consistently achieves between 70,000 – 100,000 visits on a monthly basis. Teens and young adults in the U.S. can enroll in this program by visiting http://smokefree.gov/smokefreetxt/default.aspx.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Hat tip: PW