Innovation Initiative Spotlight: Text4baby’s Growth and Evolution

The Innovation Initiative (I2) Award can have a dramatic, positive impact on nonprofits.

Today, I’d like to highlight a past awardee, Text4baby, and discuss the strides they made in the community with the help of the I2 Award.

Text4baby is a free, mobile information service designed to promote child and maternal health through text messaging. Provided by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), Text4baby offers personalized and localized tips and services for new and expectant mothers from conception to the child’s first birthday.

When AHF first connected with Text4baby in 2010, text messaging was not as widespread as it is today. Despite being just five years ago, 2010 was a different world in terms of how people were using text messaging in their daily lives.

With Text4baby and the I2 Award, we wanted to show that text messaging could provide an effective avenue for educating the public about health issues. The information itself was not revolutionary, but the delivery method was, and that’s what made Text4baby a perfect fit for the I2.

Over the course of our involvement with Text4baby, the organization has made some remarkable moves, showcasing exceptional growth in the community and abroad.

From July 1 to December 15, 2014, Text4baby set a goal to accumulate 10,164 unique users in San Diego County. With the help of AHF’s I2 Award, the organization surpassed this goal, closing the period with 10,313 unique users. This means they made a concerted effort in our community to increase the health and wellbeing of expectant mothers and their children, and they succeeded.


From a 2014 survey of over 100 Text4baby users in San Diego County:

Most (≥ 70%) Text4baby respondents enrolled in the San Diego service during this grant period reported that [Text4baby] helped them learn health information (e.g. medical warning signs, baby’s developmental milestones) and make healthy choices for them or their baby.


Also from the survey:

Text4baby provides valuable information surrounding pregnancy, and helps mothers manage their medical schedule. Most participants (≥77%) reported learning about health, infant development, and pertinent medical warning signs through enrollment in Text4baby. Participants (≥80%) also indicated that Text4baby reminded them of upcoming appointments and/or immunizations.

In addition to focusing on delivering quality information to its ever-expanding user-base, Text4baby also obtained a three-year contract with the California Department of Public Health – Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program (CDPH) to implement Text4baby’s outreach and enrollment programs. Under the three-year contract, HMHB and CDPH developed a Text4baby policy for CDPH’s Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Division’s Policies and Procedures for local health jurisdictions and key perinatal programs. In addition, CDPH includes Text4baby in all statewide strategies, including WIC CA.

Also on the state front, Text4baby was further recognized by executive leaders at Covered California, who initiated enrollment efforts to bring more users to the text-messaging based service. Their mission was to spread effective, targeted healthcare across the state, and that’s exactly what they did.

Text4baby not only provided information and tips via text message as originally intended, it evolved into a resource and teaching tool for San Diegans, helping them learn what to ask their physicians and expanding their overall health literacy.

This represents the type of work Alliance Healthcare Foundation is looking to fund with the 2015 I2 Award.

The application period is open until May 6, so there’s still time to turn your idea into something tangible and executable. When you’re ready, you can apply by following this link.

Nancy-BigSmileYou can create the next innovative idea that will reduce cost, increase capacity or improve quality in the San Diego or Imperial Counties. If you’d like to discuss your idea and see if the I2 is right for you, send me an email.

I can’t wait to hear from you.

Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director, Alliance Healthcare Foundation

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