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Researchers Texted ‘Poor, Black, Uninsured’ Pregnant Women To Get Flu Shots, Didn’t Receive ‘LOLs’ Back

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pregnant women receive text reminders to get flu shots Hey scientists! I bet those “poor, black, uninsured” pregnant women you texted to go get a flu shot probably responded like “wealthy, white, insured” women would have responded, by deleting the text and wondering who the hell was interrupting them while they were trying to watch Scandal. I can speak for the majority of women of all races and income levels that when our doctor’s offices sends us a text message, we mostly feel sort of annoyed and have a fleeting wonder if it counts towards our monthly text-message limit. I just got one of these texts a few days ago, asking me to reply if I wanted to hear about the NEW 3-D MAMMOGRAM IMAGING my office was offering, and no, I did not reply with a “1” for yes. From Reuters:

Between 2010 and 2011, researchers sent 12 weekly text messages to 158 pregnant women who were mostly poor, black, uninsured and had previously declined to receive a flu shot.

All expectant mothers received text reminders to take prenatal vitamins and to eat nutritious foods, but half of the women received messages to get vaccinated. Even with the additional encouragement, only around 30 percent in either group received flu shots in the study that appeared in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends all pregnant women get flu shots.

Though vaccination rates didn’t change, most women (90 percent) said they enjoyed receiving the text messages and the majority (70 percent) said prenatal care was more satisfying with text message reminders.

I want a follow up study that says the women who received these messages didn’t really enjoy them, and they were just being polite by saying they did. I can’t think of anything more annoying than receiving a text reminding me to “eat healthy” while pregnant. I would be all replying “NO, you eat kale! Don’t tell me what to do! You aren’t my mother!” I guess some women might enjoy this, but to me it is just as annoying as those constant texts from Redbox I receive offering me to save 50 cents off a rental of a new release DVD.

“We really don’t know the best way to harness the technology in order to communicate from provider to patient,” said Carolyn Rose Ahlers-Schmidt, research associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita, who in her own work has found text reminders to new mothers don’t increase vaccination rates in their newborns.

I’m just not sure using text messages to remind women to do these sorts of things is very effective, because it sort of starts to feel like a sales pitch at times, or else a message from someone you really don’t feel like talking to. And at least someone else agrees with me:

“There’s great potential for the technology to be used just as an alarm, which in the end can be quite annoying,” Petrie, who was not involved in the current work, told Reuters Health.

Everyone knows pregnant women should get flu shots and most people agree that newborns should be vaccinated, but I’m not sure random annoying texts are the way to achieve this. I’m going to start up my own pregnant lady texting service. I’m going to send messages that say:

OK, if you eat some broccoli you can have a cupcake because you deserve it and get a flu shot and no, your ankles don’t look swollen and wasn’t Scandal awesome Olivia is going to get back together with Fitz LOoollololololol Text me back

 

I think it will prove effective.

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