Mobile phones become tools of health promotion

When District-based Voxiva released a free text message service in February sending prenatal health advice to expectant mothers, the technology firm hoped it would be a successful example of mobile health in the United States.

Nine months later, they say it has delivered. The company and the other minds behind "text4baby" said at last week's mHealth Summit that more than 100,000 mothers-to-be have used the service. Johnson & Johnson also made a multimillion-dollar pledge over several years to help grow the program.

The idea of monitoring patients and promoting healthy behavior through mobile phones and other portable devices has emerged as a potential method to reduce the costs of health care while improving quality.

And as Congress makes money available to digitize medical records and fund innovative research, the government has put forth financial incentives for small firms and big corporations alike to explore new approaches to health care.

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