HHS announces Text4Health task force

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 9, 2010        

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HHS CTO Todd Park“We at the US Department of Health and Human Services are super enthusiastic about the power of mHealth to improve health and healthcare,” Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer, HHS said during a keynote presentation at the mHealth Summit in Washington DC this week. “One effort we are particularly excited about is Text4Baby.”

Text4Baby is a free SMS-based service provides free health tips to new and expectant mothers three times a week. The service provides reminders about taking vitamins, getting flu shots, and other health issues.

Park said that more than 100,000 people had signed up for TextBaby — “or 101,962 to be exact,” he said. “We’re really just getting started.”

This week the HHS will announce a major effort conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration to evaluate the effects of the Text4Baby program. HHS has also created a special Text4Health taskforce to determine how to best apply lessons learned from Text4Baby to smoking cessation, obesity and childhood health issues.

In May the CEO of the company that powers Text4Baby — Voxiva’s Paul Meyer — told attendees at a mobile health event that plans were in the works for two new add-on services for Text4Baby: Quit4Baby and TextFit. Meyer said Quit4Baby would be a smoking cessation text message powered service for new and expectant mothers. TextFit is a text message service centered on nutrition, however, it wasn’t clear at the time whether it would also specifically target expectant mothers like the other two services.