Abstract 14883: Texting Teens in Transition: The Use of Social Networking in Clinical Intervention Research
Advances in the care of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) have enabled many to survive previously fatal conditions. The number of these children surviving into adulthood has increased at an unprecedented rate. The adult heath care system is unprepared to follow these large numbers of adults with CHD and many teens are not knowledgeable about their CHD or their need of lifelong medical follow up. These issues, in conjunction with rapidly evolving methods of communication employed by teenagers, creates an opportunity to develop and test relevant approaches to address the needs of adolescents as they learn to navigate the health care delivery system. After a one hour nurse-led clinic based intervention, preparing youth with complex CHD for transition to adult care, texting was employed as a follow up in the week after the intervention. During the texting interaction teens were encouraged to ask further questions and the nurse elicited data regarding intervention effectiveness. Key objectives of the pilot phase of the intervention study were to assess 1) uptake of texting as a means of follow-up, 2) nature of texting interaction, and 3) risks and benefits of texting. At the close of the intervention teens were asked their preference for ongoing contact. Of 24 teens recruited into the intervention study, 18 requested to be contacted by text message, five through email, and one by phone. Texting follow-up was conducted with 16/18 teens. The nature of the texting interaction was varied and included topics of birth control, implications of CHD for offspring, alcohol/energy drinks, naming their heart condition, tattoos, and dental care. The anticipated risks of texting related to invasiveness and superficial interaction did not manifest during this pilot phase. The benefits of this approach included discussion of an array of topics, interaction with the teen without time or location restrictions, and information delivery in manageable “byte-size” pieces. In conclusion, texting appears to have good uptake with the teens in this study. Texting resulted in a wide variety of conversations and could be considered as an appropriate method of delivering and receiving health information.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.