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5 Things You Didn't Know About Using Cell Phones to Improve Health Care in the Safety Net

Findings from the Issue Brief: Mobile Health and Patient Engagement in the Safety Net: A Survey of Community Health Centers and Clinics

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1: Community health centers and clinics often struggle to engage patients in their care.

People in safety net communities are at greater risk of chronic, preventable conditions like diabetes, and mobile applications can bring self-care messages into daily life.


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2: Many people in the safety-net community use cell phones.

There is a high rate of cell phone use among minority and low-income groups, as well as regular use of texting and the mobile Internet.


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3: Text messages can help with chronic disease care and general wellness. 

Text message notifications can promote self-management practices for chronic diseases; educate consumers about preventive care and personal wellness, such as smoking cessation and nutrition; and potentially improve adherence with recommended treatment.


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4: Community health centers and clinics have been slow to adopt cell phones to deliver care. 

Only one-quarter of participants in a recent survey of community health centers reported using cell phones in care delivery, and most are using it for appointment reminders only.


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5: Many community health centers and clinics do not have the necessary resources and technical skills to adopt mobile health. 

Despite the low costs of implementation, without funding sources or reimbursement to support mobile health, many clinics and centers will continue to struggle to adopt these technologies.

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