HHS has been exploring ways to capitalize on the rapid proliferation of mobile phone technology and platforms to help achieve a healthier nation. HHS established the Text4Health Task Force to come up with a report with new ideas on how to develop text messaging initiatives to deliver via mobile phones.
The report recommended that HHS develop and host evidence-based health text message libraries to increase the use of scientifically-based information, develop further evidence on the effectiveness of health text messaging programs, and develop partnerships to implement and disseminate health text messaging and mHealth programs.
Since 2010, HHS has invested $5 million to develop its eHealth/mHealth smoking cessation resources aimed at teens, young adults, and other adults. HHS is launching a new initiative through NCI called the “SmokeFreeTXT” program, a mobile smoking cessation service specifically designed for teens and young adults. The service is an extension of the core smoking cessation web site www.smokefree.gov receiving between 70,000 to 100,000 visits on a monthly basis.
NCI is also launching a library of smoking cessation messages to provide the foundation for an interactive text-based intervention for adult smokers called “QuitNowTXT” to provide through text messages tips, motivation, encouragement, and facts tailored to the user’s response.
HHS is also pursuing opportunities to develop a global public-private partnership to make the “QuitNowTXT” program available to other countries to reach adult tobacco users. Organizations that will be collaborating include the mHealth Alliance hosted by the United Nations Foundation, World Medical Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Center for Global Health at George Washington University, and Johnson & Johnson.
This initiative aims to collaborate with interested countries to support mHealth/text-based demonstration projects using text messaging resources available on mHealth Alliance’s www.HealthUnbound.org web site. By drawing on the experience from three demonstration projects, the countries and partners will identify and disseminate best practices for tobacco cessation mHealth/text-based intervention.