Background: Mobile phones are increasingly being used to deliver health information and health services globally. Mobile health (mHealth) interventions may be well-suited for minority groups with greater barriers to accessing traditional health services. However, little has been written about the process of culturally adapting interventions for multiple ethnic and cultural minorities within a population.
Objective: This study describes the process of developing a culturally tailored text message-based maternal health program (TextMATCH: Text for MATernal and Child Health) for Māori, Pacific, Asian, and South Asian families living in New Zealand. We report on engagement and acceptability of the TextMATCH program.
Methods: Program data was examined to describe engagement with the program 18 months after implementation. Telephone interviews were conducted with a sample of participants who consented to provide feedback on acceptability and relevance of the program.
Results: A total of 1404 participants enrolled in TextMATCH over 18 months, with 18.52% (260) actively opting out at some point (after 0 to 17 months of messages). It was found that 356 (70.9%) of the 502 eligible participants actively switched from the initial pregnancy program to the baby program after delivery. Phone interviews were conducted with 29 participants including 6 who had withdrawn (duration of program from 3 to 16 months). Only 2 participants reported that the program was not useful, with the remainder rating the usefulness of messages positively (average 4.24 out of 5). All participants stated that the messages were relevant, culturally appropriate, and easy to understand. Most were happy with the specific advice and the language options provided.
Conclusions: We have demonstrated the importance of an intensive approach to the development of a culturally adapted and tailored mHealth program for multiple different cultural minority groups within our population.
Keywords: culture; mHealth; maternal health; short message service; text messages.
©Rosie Dobson, Robyn Whittaker, Hannah Bartley, Augusta Connor, Ruyan Chen, Mairead Ross, Judith McCool. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (http://mhealth.jmir.org), 20.04.2017.