San Francisco Health Plan’s Innovative Diabetes Text Messaging Program Expanded to Include Members Affected with Asthma

San Francisco Health Plan (SFHP), a community health plan serving over 80,000 San Francisco residents, has partnered since February 2013 with HealthCrowd to launch DMTxt, a bidirectional, interactive health text messaging program improving the lives of people living with diabetes.

The pioneering diabetes effort was named "Innovation of the Month" in March by the Center for Care Innovations Voice, a online network of health care safety net professionals. Building off of the program's success, the effort is being expanded to include members with asthma-related health issues.

The texting program engages members through motivational messaging that allow direct responses. Enrollees receive three to four culturally and linguistically tailored texts each week covering a variety of topics including diet, exercise, medication, and recommended screening appointments.

Examples of the texts include: "Did you know that even a 1% drop in your HbA1c blood test can cut the risk of heart attack by 14%? Get yours checked soon." and "The American Heart Association says: get 30 minutes of activity each day, but you can split it into 2 or 3 sessions. Text us # of minutes you did today!" Texting will now expand to include tailored messaging to those with asthma.

Leveraging HeathCrowd's bidirectional platform provides a highly efficient and scalable way to deliver targeted health messages in the member's preferred language. The automated, end-to-end, mobile platform creates messages that motivate members to take action while allowing for instant feedback, creating a conversation and stronger relationship between members and San Francisco Health Plan.

"Health education is at the center of what we do, but getting meaningful information to our members is always a challenge. This program allows us to get messages to people in the way they prefer - quick, short, sound bites," said Dr. Kelly Pfeifer, Chief Medical Officer of San Francisco Health Plan.

Bern Shen, HealthCrowd's Chief Medical Officer, said, "SFHP's market leadership and track record of innovation and quality make them an ideal partner, and we aim to demonstrate meaningful improvements in HEDIS measures as a result of this study."

Approximately 250 members are enrolled in the pilot diabetes program, representing various ages and five languages (English, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Russian).

In the coming months, SFHP will measure the impact of the program on clinical care and patient satisfaction, while expanding the program to additional populations.

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