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Columbia University’s Frederick Muench
Text messages have been proven several times to be a positive medium for improving health outcomes. Text message intervention studies for smoking cessation,medication adherence and weight loss have all come back with positive results. Although companies have begun developing more and more apps, tailored text messages that speak to a specific audience still have a different and relevant impact, according to Boston University Research Scientist Keith McInnes, Columbia University Assistant Professor Frederick Muench and Partners Healthcare Research Coordinator Meaghan Doherty, in a panel moderated by MobiHealthNews Associate Editor Jonah Comstock.
Muench and his team at Columbia recently completed a study of 277 participants that looked at how to design text messages for specific audiences. He found that tailoring the tone and structure of a message would increase receptivity, memory for message content and relevance of the message.
After each participant contributed personal goals, Muench separated participants into 22 different groups and then began the trial.
Overall, participants preferred smiley emoticons to sad-faced emoticons. They liked proper english rather than an abbreviated form that Muench called “textese” and the groups liked benefit-oriented text messages more than consequence-oriented ones.
Although the group was slightly more female than male, 71.9 percent preferred receiving a quote from a man to one from a woman. Muench made a distinction between people being polite, which 86.5 percent preferred, to being direct instead of passive, which 82.3 percent preferred.
*This “what the experts are saying” is a sample posting for demonstration purposes.
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