Texting Our Way to Better Contraception Use
June 15, 2015
Can health care providers and patients use texting to promote more consistent birth control use? Yes, they can! Clinicians and public health advocates have discovered something interesting: phone calls, email and snail mail just don’t seem to cut it for us! Teens from across the country are using texting on their cell phones as their primary mode of communication, prompting researchers to study these habits and wonder if this could be used to promote birth control use.
A recent study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Children Center examined the effectiveness of text messaging girls ages 13 to 21 about their birth control injection appointments, which happen every three months.This study followed a group of 100 young women receiving the birth control shot for nine months. Half of the group was reminded by phone call to attend their appointments while the other half received personalized text messages three days before their appointment. The result? Girls who were reminded via text message were more likely to show up on time to their appointment and talk about safer sex practices than girls reminded via phone calls.
So what does this mean for us? Doctors can and should be encouraged to use technology to maintain better communication with their teen patients, and consistent birth control use might just be a text away.