6 Steps to a Successful Community-based mHealth Program

The experiences of three Beacon Communities that have implemented community-based mHealth programs focused on diabetes risk reduction and disease management hold important lessons for similar programs, according to a study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.  

The Crescent City Beacon Community in New Orleans, the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community in Detroit and the Utah Beacon Community in Salt Lake City, like all Beacon Communities, have been charged with using their funding from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to use technology to improve healthcare delivery and population health while lowering costs.  

To this end, the communities launched several programs that use targeted, accessible text messages to communicate with the population they serve about reducing the risk of diabetes and managing chronic diseases.

Issues were experienced at each stage of implementation, including issues developing tailored, culturally-aware messages, enrolling participants, engaging with providers and evaluating the programs. Their combined experiences have revealed six steps key to the success of future similar programs:

1. Identify community partners supportive of the program, and leverage their resources and community presence.
2. Design outreach, enrollment and message content around the end user to increase engagement.
3. Set aside additional resources for on-the-ground marketing campaigns and in-person engagement with the target audience.
4. Partner with providers and promote the program and mHealth as a way to enhance patient care.
5. Plan an evaluation process and identify which measurements and outcomes need to be known by stakeholders, and which do not.
6. Share lessons learned and best practices with others to foster the development of similar programs.

More Articles on mHealth:

Medivo Acquires Top-Rated Management App OnTrack Diabetes
Study: mHealth May Not Be As Effective in Promoting Physical Activity
The Hospital App Advantage: 5 Benefits of Going Mobile 

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