Text Messages Can Improve Oral Contraceptive Continuation


The connection between technology and health care fascinates Dr. Paula Castaño. Suspecting that texting patients on a daily basis could improve oral contraceptive pill (OCP) continuation, she designed a study to test the hypothesis. Published in the January 2012 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, her study concluded that texting does work: young women who received daily educational text messages showed improved OCP adherence at six months, over routine care alone. Her article states that young women lead the way in cell phone use. “Text messages are a good way to reach young women, and the strategy works across all social and economic levels,” she noted. Dr. Castaño’s study is in sync with others those confirming similar findings, joining manufacturers, public health programs and clinics, which have spontaneously adopted digital tools: apps, text messaging, social networking and on-line information, to reach teens and young adults who have grown up in a digital world. Dr, Castaño is an Assistant Professor of Clinical OB/GYN in the Division of Family Planning who was invited to join Columbia’s faculty in 2005. She came to Columbia in 2003 on a research fellowship and earned a Master of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her current research explores ways to increase access to contraception for patients who do not receive regular health care.