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The Behavioral Impact Of Text Reminders

"Human behavior flows from 3 main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge." - Plato

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I went to Virginia Tech and majored in Psychology. When I started college, I was in engineering at the University of Arizona. Engineering and Tucson, AZ turned into Psychology and Blacksburg, VA where I got my degree as a Hokie. When I graduated, I had thoughts of going to graduate school and becoming a relationship therapist or a child psychologist but I dropped those aspirations in favor of entering the work force. Making money seemed to make more sense than going further into debt.

Psychology is the study of behavior. As my career path led me on a long journey culminating in Texting Base, I often marveled at how far away from my degree I was. Understanding what makes people tick is always a valuable tool for management, marketing, sales and writing web content, but linking Texting Base and psychology seemed like a stretch. Then I started to see the research on texting and realized that the world once again has worked in mysterious ways. Texting is now being used for behavioral modification (psychology).

As more and more research probes the power of text messaging, its power is just now starting to be quantified and understood. Studies have been conducted on the effect of the txt message on everything from meeting attendance to adherence to medical recommendations and following up for vaccines. The goal of these studies is to flesh out the impact of the text message as an effective behavioral modification tool. Below, I discuss a few of these studies.

As you read the paragraphs below, think about your own life and your own business. How can text reminders help you? What behaviors in your life could use some improvement?

I will do a series on the various text studies that are released. I encourage any of our clients or readers who want to make their own experiment to do so, and let me know if we can be of any assistance.

DRINKING

Texting is being used to help alcoholics change their drinking behavior. A study out of Brown University by Dr. Beth Brock used a sample of 62 college students between the ages of 18-22. The researchers sent texts with informative information and motivational information. While drinking did not decrease, negative consequences from drinking (anything from a hangover to a DUI) went down from 9.45 to 3.29 for each student over a 6-week period. This is a 65% decrease in drinking consequences over 6 weeks, a massive decline.

The text messages had a 95% response rate.

Research is ongoing and showing promise.

Another study examining drinking focused on binge drinkers. Every day, hospitals in the United States experience over 50,000 patients between 18-24 years old who rushed in because they had too much to drink.

765 patients with a history of Emergency Room visits were put into 3 groups.

1/3rd received text messages about their drinking. 1/3rd received text questions to answer about drinking. 1/3rd received no texts.

The groups receiving text messages binged 51% less than the group who received no texts and self reported 31% less drinking per day.

Personalization only helps increase responsiveness. For more information on this click here: Personalized Group Texts

VACCINE

Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center evaluated 6-8 year old children and their adherence to medical advice using the flu vaccine as their example. 660 children were used for the purposes of this study.

The first dose was set to “prime” their immune system. The second dose, for immune protection, was scheduled to take place 28 days later.

One group received educational text messages, another group received a regular reminder and the third group received a mail reminder.

Results? The following percentages reflect how the different groups fared in going back for dose 2.

Educational text: 72.7% Reminder text: 66.7% Mail reminder: 57.1%

The children whose families received the educational text showed up at a 15.6% higher rate on average than the mail reminder children.

With over 125,000 Americans dying each year from not taking prescription drugs correctly, the medical community is starting to take notice of the role of text messaging in making recommended medical decisions.

The thought of text messages being used to save lives is pretty great!

CRIME

Text alert systems are just now starting to be used in cities and towns all over the world. I expect a lot of data to come up on this subject, but in New Garda, Ireland over 100,000 people have signed up for text alerts and over 1 million texts have been sent on suspicious activities. Look at this as a sort of “neighborhood watch” where each person can text when he or she sees something that doesn’t seem right, giving police officers tips and valuable information.

Crime statistics are not yet available for this type of behavioral impact through text messaging, however the police force says burglaries and thefts are down significantly.

MEETINGS AND MORE

Medicaid workers used text messages in New York to remind people of their appointments. The study was conducted at “Sense Health,” and the results were promising.

Attendance of appointments as scheduled increased 40% with text reminders.

Taking medicines at the right time increased 12%.

Sticking to the goals of a particular medical plan increased by “just 7%.”

Patients were also 21-26% more motivated, confident and informed compared to the people who didn’t utilize the texting technology.

CONCLUSION

It’s too early to proclaim texting a miracle in behavioral modification. I do send myself a text at 8PM every night to tell myself to stop eating. The first night I received it I had just finished a slice of cake…the painful irony!

What we can say definitively is that texting is showing tremendous promise in behavioral modification. We would love to work with any business that would like to conduct such a test and provide any analytics we can that may be needed.

Looks like I haven’t strayed as far from Psychology as I once thought.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/07/14/text-messages-after-er-visit-can-reduce-binge-drinking/72463.html

http://mobihealthnews.com/34749/rct-text-message-based-program-boosts-adherence-to-appointments-medication/

http://mobihealthnews.com/38851/in-texting-interventions-for-problem-drinking-content-tone-is-key/

http://time.com/3648483/text-messages-flu-vaccine/

http://m.independent.ie/incoming/more-than-one-million-texts-about-crime-sent-under-garda-text-alert-system-30877153.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Beans

Eric Beans is CEO of Texting Base, Inc., out of Orlando, Florida. Texting Base is a cloud-based software that adds efficiency and power to business texting communications. Combining the efficiency of a “mass text” and the effectiveness of a personal text message, Texting Base uses patent pending software to allow businesses to build relationships with their customers like never before. Prior to Texting Base, Eric Beans owned Premier Mortgage Capital, Inc., a nationwide state charted mortgage company and helped to start TechSpan, a global IT consulting company.

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