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Award Report: Increasing Parental Health Literacy to Optimize Pregnancy Outcomes–Drexel University

The overall goal of this project was to encourage health literacy by developing a culturally and educationally appropriate intervention that was convenient and tailored to the topics covered in a pregnancy program at a federally qualified health center in Philadelphia, PA.  The intervention consisted of a series of text messages enhanced with embedded URLs for websites that were selected for credibility and relevance to the educational topics covered in program sessions.  These tailored messages were  delivered twice weekly to participants’ cell phones and have been collected into a library that can be pre-loaded intro a text-messaging program to be sent out at designated dates and times.

During the project period, we provided this intervention to 36 women in five cohorts.  We also developed a short training program on information seeking in collaboration with the Health Sciences Library at Drexel University. This program was offered five times to the general patient population at the center and was delivered by a Drexel health sciences librarian; it demonstrated how to search for health information on the Internet and featured examples of credible, reliable websites, including MedlinePlus.  In keeping with our observation that for this population the most popular mode of Internet access is via cell phone, we offered participants the use of iPod Touch devices to mimic the experience of web searching on a cell phone.

Monthly survey data revealed that almost all patients reported receiving the messages, reading them, and found them to be informative and supportive. Most also accessed the websites.   Participants in the training session were enthusiastic about being able to find trustworthy health information online.  The center has expressed interest in investigating further the health literacy and health information literacy of their patients, particularly as it may impact patient engagement.

Prudence W. Dalrymple
Institute for Healthcare Informatics
Drexel University


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