At the beginning of this month I attended a joint intern class day on Nutrition Informatics at the National Agriculture Library in Washington, DC. Various speakers were discussing ways that technology is being used to distribute health information.
One of the presentations was about the national program text4baby– a completely free program that provides health information directly to the cell phones of pregnant women and mothers of infants up to one year old. And by free- I really mean free- major cell phone companies have agreed to not charge recipients of the text messages, even if they don’t have a texting plan! It’s a really neat concept, and I was eager to learn more about it.
One of the presenters suggested that we sign up for the program and receive messages, just to see what kind of things mothers are receiving. So I did, setting my graduation date as my false “due date”- and I’ve been getting reminders to take my prenatal vitamins, and visit my doctor, and even info about access to health insurance!
Last week at my WIC rotation, I was able to sit in on a webinar where I learned that text4baby is partnering with WIC to offer free appointment reminders to WIC clients. Like anything, it’s not perfect- it does take a minute or two for a mom to sign up for the program (but that is a small amount compared to what a lot of people spend on their phones), and she has to text the system every time she wants to schedule her next appointment.
So, as one of my projects for WIC, I made a brief powerpoint that can be used as an inservice for nutritionists- to help them share about the program with their clients.
My experience at WIC has been really great so far. I was able to personally do nutrition education and issue checks for about 15-20 families in the past few days. I needed an experienced nutritionist beside me, though, because I am still learning the computer system!