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Give up smoking – by text

A recent service by GPS in Barking and Dagenham to target people who want to give up smoking has apparently seen great response rates from patients when targeted by text message.

The service, run by iPLATO, is being used to ask patients what there current smoking ‘status’ is. The idea is that those who have been identified as wanting to quit can be referred to the right channels to receive advice and support. The response rates for these text messages has been 46% so far.

To send out the texts the GP just links up iPLATO’s service with their own patient records to choose the right people to target and the numbers to send the messages to. Not only has this been used to target smokers, they can also send out informtaion about ‘flu, immunisations and obesity.

Location based services would be good to tie into this, imagine if your doctor could send you a text when you entered a cake shop, “Put the cake down, your cholesterol is already too high.” But at the moment it’s all about getting to people to give up smoking … I don’t know, they’ll be paying people next.

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