Content of text messaging immunization reminders: what low-income parents want to know

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Oct;85(1):119-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.08.007. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Objective: The purpose of this project was to gather preliminary data on preferred content for text reminders sent to low-income parents.

Methods: A brief, IRB-approved survey was administered to 200 consecutive English-speaking parents of children under 6 years old at a Pediatric Residency clinic. Because text messages can hold only limited content, parents were given three example texts ranging from very basic to very specific information and asked to select the information they would wish to receive.

Results: Of the 190 parents (95%) who responded, 22.1% (42) were Hispanic and 76.3% (145) were non-Hispanic. Over 80% (153) received Medicaid. Of the 79.5% (151) of respondents interested in receiving text messages who responded to the question regarding content, nearly 50% (74) preferred Option 2, with the remaining respondents divided between Option 1 (43) and Option 3 (35). Results differed significantly between Hispanic and non-Hispanic respondents (χ(2)(2)=6.36, p=0.042).

Conclusion: The majority of parents preferred a message containing the child's name, specific immunization information and physician information. However, Hispanic respondents were significantly more likely to endorse an option that included additional information.

Practice implications: Text messaging may be an optimal vehicle for provider-patient communication, however cultural differences should be considered when developing messages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medicaid
  • Midwestern United States
  • Parents
  • Patient Preference*
  • Poverty
  • Reminder Systems*
  • Text Messaging*
  • United States