Towards Effective Sms Model for Healthcare Information Dissemination
The healthcare sector uses SMS to disseminate health care information to a large population of people. Maternal and postnatal healthcare information is widely delivered through the SMS platform. Evidence of a structure used when sending the healthcare information via SMS, which ensures that the message received is effective, remains very limited. This report presents a study which was aimed at proposing a model that can be used to effectively send healthcare information via SMS. A total of 80 people were initially recruited to take part in the study. However, 63 out of the 80 people participated in this study. 52 respondents were interviewed over the phone using semi-structured scripts; six of them participated in a focus group discussion carried out at a Hospital in the Eastern part of Nairobi. Five respondents responded to questionnaires issued to them. All participants resided in Nairobi. Following review of relevant literature and analysis of data collected from the study, five factors emerged which influence effectiveness of healthcare messages sent via SMS. The factors include: the day of the week most preferred to receive the SMS, the time of day in which respondent has most access of their phone, frequency of receiving the healthcare messages, topics of interest to the receiver and preferred language. This study shows that to ensure healthcare messages sent over SMS are effective, it is important that information is sent to the recipient subject to their availability and preferences. Healthcare institutions need to consider these factors when sending healthcare information, to ensure information sent is relevant and convenient to the receiver thus resulting in expected behavior change. The model can be adopted in other sectors which rely on SMS to send information to its beneficiaries.
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