State health dept. adds new feature to pioneering Text2Survive
program adds medical appointment reminder to HIV testing locator
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[December 27, 2012]
CHICAGO -- The Illinois
Department of Public Health's Center for Minority Health Services
has added a feature to its pioneering Text2Survive mobile service
that will allow health providers to send patients medical
appointment reminders for clinic visits via text message to their
IDPH's Center for Minority Health Services launched Text2Survive in
2009 as an HIV testing center locator, becoming one of the first
states in the nation to provide information about HIV testing via
text message. Mobile phone users can text IL plus ZIP code to 36363
to receive their closest free, confidential and anonymous HIV
testing centers (a sample text would read IL 60601). Text2Survive
later added features for HIV/AIDS education outreach events,
medication reminder alerts and daily health updates by texting
EVENT, MED or ALERT, respectively, to 36363.
The new medical
appointment reminder feature is currently being piloted through the
end of March at three facilities statewide -- Lake County Health
Department, Open Doors Clinic in Chicago and East Side Health
Department in East St. Louis -- with plans to expand to other
facilities in 2013. This feature allows clinic staff to access their
own individual password-protected Web portals to enroll interested
patients to receive appointment reminders via text message in the
program. After an appointment has been created, patients will
automatically receive appointment reminders via text message at
pre-defined intervals leading up to their appointments.
"This expanded feature of our innovative Text2Survive service
will meet Illinois residents at their point of need in a medium that
is already extremely accessible to them," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck,
IDPH director. "Anyone who can text from their mobile phone can use
Text2Survive as a 'one-stop shop' to find HIV testing locations,
health education events, customized medication reminders, general
health information updates and now, through their health care
providers, medical appointment reminders."
Illinois ranks seventh nationwide in the diagnosis of HIV
infections and is fifth nationwide in the estimated number of AIDS
cases. Adolescents and young adults ages 13-29 have the highest rate
of HIV infection in Illinois, at 37 percent. Additionally,
African-Americans in Illinois are also disproportionately affected
by HIV/AIDS, representing about 14 percent of the population but
half of all new HIV infections.
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"Cellphones are everywhere and everyone is texting. Many people
are also using their cellphones as their primary point of contact
and getting rid of their landlines," said Center for Minority Health
Services Director Doris Turner. "Because people usually carry their
cellphones with them, it is also less likely that they will miss
appointments or that the appointment notification will fall into the
appointment reminders: accessible via health care facilities.
locations: text IL plus ZIP code to 36363 (for Spanish, text
CENTRO to 36363).
text EVENT to 36363.
reminders: text MED to 36363.
Health updates: text ALERT to 36363.
HIV testing locations and other information can be also be
obtained by calling the IDPH HIV/AIDS and STD hotline at
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]