Mobile health (mHealth) is gaining widespread attention for its potential to engage patients in their health and health care in their daily lives. Emerging evidence suggests that mHealth interventions can be used effectively to support behavior change, but numerous challenges remain when implementing these programs at the community level. This paper provides an overview of considerations when implementing community-based mHealth initiatives, based on the experiences of three Beacon Communities across the United States that have launched text messaging (short message service, SMS) pilot programs aimed at diabetes risk reduction and disease management. The paper addresses lessons learned and suggests strategies to overcome challenges related to developing text message content, conducting marketing and outreach, enrolling participants, engaging providers, evaluating program effectiveness, and sustaining and scaling the programs.
Keywords: Type 2 diabetes mellitus; mHealth; mobile health; mobile phone; risk reduction; self management; short message service (SMS); text messaging.