Text messaging has become a societal norm for how and when we communicate. People are often found looking down at their devices, thumbing away at the keyboards, sending missives to business folk, family and friends and using the technology to interact with their favorite retailers.
In the healthcare sector, psychologists are looking at texting as a tool to aid in intervention programs, particularly alcohol-related ones.
According to Healthcare IT News, Frederick Muench, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center, has been researching the topic and found that of all the different kinds of text messages out there, knowing which is most effective wasn’t exactly clear cut. There is very little research on the consumer preferences for messages.
Programs like Text4baby for parents and Text2quit, a smoking cessation program have garnered thousands of users each, serving a number of healthcare stakeholders.
What it comes down to is tailoring the message and interventions for the people using them so that the outcomes are favorable.
Seventy-five percent of respondents prefer receiving statements to questions, most are likely to prefer messages in "non-textese," and satisfaction increased with happy emoticons and correct grammar, the study revealed. All-caps were preferred only when connected to a particular goal.
"We're still new to understanding texting as a unique medium," Muench said.
The information was gathered via an online survey designed to determine stated preferences, not to measure actual use of text messages.
Relatedly, the CDC actually wrote a guide that can help you write better texts. The guide was designed to share the CDC’s insights into how to create effective outreach across social media both in business and healthcare.
The guide ranges from the highly general, like what sort of material makes good content, to the incredibly specific, as in how many characters should your text messages be.
The CDC launched a text messaging pilot and uses it to deliver critical health messages and emergency alerts to mobile subscribers when and where they need it.
Edited by Alisen Downey