Objective: To assess parental, provider, and medical staff opinions about text message reminder/recall for early childhood vaccination.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted between January and March 2011 among 200 parents of 6-59 month-old children, 26 providers, and 20 medical staff at four academically-affiliated pediatric practices in New York City with text messaging experience. Survey questions addressed interest in, preferences for, and concerns/barriers related to vaccine-related text message reminder/recall.
Results: Parents were primarily Latino, Spanish-speaking, and had a high school education or less. Most parents owned a text message-enabled cell phone (89%) and used text messaging services (97%). While 84% had never received health-related text messages, 88% were comfortable receiving them. Nearly all parents reported interest in receiving reminder/recall text messages, many endorsing them over phone calls and/or letters. Preferences included personalization, interactivity, and multiple messages. While 25% of parents had no concerns, 38% were concerned about incorrect numbers; only 6% worried about cost. Providers and staff were also supportive of vaccine-related text messages. Their biggest concerns were correct cell phone numbers, appointment availability, and increased call volume.
Conclusion: Text message reminder/recall for early childhood vaccination was widely supported. Important barriers were identified that should be addressed to maximize their effectiveness.
Keywords: Children; Immunization; Reminder/recall; Text message.
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