Texting program reminds girls of birth control appointments
While text messaging between friends has become the norm, health care professionals are experimenting using texting to remind teenage girls about their birth control injection appointments.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that sending periodic text-message reminders to teens can help improve timing and adherence to birth control injection appointments. Researchers said this is crucial because teens not always reliable with following through on their appointments.
“Our findings suggest that text messaging can help overcome some issues that teens struggle with and pose challenges for the clinicians caring for them, such as keeping clinical appointments, adhering to a tight treatment schedule and regularly taking prescription medications,” senior study investigator Dr. Maria Trent said in a news release.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a birth control injection is an injection of a type of progestin that protects against pregnancy for three months.
The study looked at the behaviors of 100 Baltimore women ranging in age from 13 to 21 who were scheduled to receive contraceptive injections every three months for nine months. Half of the patients received standard automated calls on their home phones reminding them of their upcoming appointments, while the other half received personalized daily text messages starting three days prior to their monthly appointment.
Overall, 87 percent of study participants showed up for the first of three injections, 77 percent completed the second cycle and 69 percent came to the clinic for the third and final injection. Those who received text message reminders were more likely to show up on time to their first and second appointments compared to those who just received a phone call.
The group receiving text messages also received periodic texts with tips on condom use to help prevent sexually transmitted infections, suggestions for maintaining healthy weight, and encouragement to call their nurse if they have any questions or concerns throughout the process.
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