Author Archives: Ann

About Ann

I am a PhD student in Health Services Research at the University of Washington.

Alternative to Google Calendar SMS Notifications

About a year ago, Google Calendar stopped supporting one of its popular features — SMS notifications. This feature remained available to customers of Google Apps for Work, Education, or Government.

For those not in those categories, Google suggested two alternatives:

1.  Rely on smartphone notifications from the calendar app that came with your device

2.  Install the Google Calendar app onto your device and use its smartphone notifications

We’d like to suggest a third option:

3.  Use Cronote Reminders to continue scheduling SMS notifications

Our service allows you to continue sending text message (SMS) notifications if you prefer/need them over smartphone notifications. With Cronote, you’re also able to schedule SMS notifications to be sent to other people, something that smartphone notifications are unable to do.

At this time, we do not offer Google Calendar integration; that might be a feature down the road. In the meantime, we do hope to offer you this comparable alternative to Google Calendar’s long-gone SMS notifications.

 

Existing Text Message Services for Health

Earlier this year, the Annual Review of Public Health reported that the majority of text message interventions are effective in managing diabetes, weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, and medication adherence for antiretroviral therapy. The researchers had reviewed 89 individual studies published between 2009 and 2014.

There are many proven, federally-funded text messaging services for health. We found a nifty table by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which we’ve reproduced below:

Initiative

Focus

Description

Text4baby

Maternal & Child Health

Providing pregnant women and new mothers free health text messages in English or Spanish, including information and referral timed to the stage of pregnancy or age of the baby; involves a public-private partnership with National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and Voxiva; since February 2010, more than 650,000 people have ever enrolled in Text4baby

TXT4Tots

Child Health
(Nutrition & Physical Activity)

Providing a library of brief, evidence-based messages focused on nutrition and physical activity targeted to parents and caregivers of children ages 1 to 5, based on Bright Futures Guidelines, and available in English and Spanish; the messages can be disseminated through text messaging or incorporated in other programs

SmokeFreeTXT

Tobacco Control

Delivering 24/7 tips, motivation, encouragement, and advice about smoking cessation through text messages targeted to adults and young adults; the service is free, but message and data rates apply

QuitNowTXT

Tobacco Control

Offering a library of free and publicly available interactive text messages for adults who are ready to quit smoking; includes a delivery algorithm with day-specific quit messages that provide tips, motivation, encouragement, and fact-based information; message content can be tailored according to user-specific keywords

SmokeFree Mom

Tobacco Control

Developing a library of free and publicly available text messages for pregnant women who wish to quit smoking; the messages will be personalized, interactive, and evidence-based

Health Alerts On-the-Go

Health & Safety

Providing CDC’s health and safety information on mobile devices, including seasonal flu, H1N1 flu, public health emergencies, and other topics

Text Alerts Toolkits

Emergency Response & Prepardness

Providing a text message library for emergency preparedness and response for voluntary use by state and local agencies can use during hurricanes and floods; future topics include chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosion messages

There are likely many more since this table was published in 2014. Some public health agencies, like the Seattle King County Department of Public Health, even have a webpage dedicated to local text message resources.

If your local or federal public health department does not offer the text messaging service you need, you can create your own using Cronote. Cronote reminders can be easily adapted for health. The co-founders of Cronote are trained health professionals as well, so if your organization is looking to develop such an intervention, let us know. We’d love to help!

4 Text Messages a Week May Help Heart Patients

It’s been a while since our last post, but we’re happy to see a growing audience for Cronote!

A couple days ago, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a research study suggesting that semi-personalized text messages may help reduce heart disease.

The study was based in Australia through the Tobacco, Exercise and Diet Messages (TEXT ME) program. There were 710 participating patients, all of whom had a record of coronary heart disease between a given time frame (Sept 2011 to Nov 2013). The patients were split into two groups — a control group, which received usual care, and an intervention group, which received 4 text messages per week for 6 months (in addition to usual care). The text messages provided advice, motivational reminders, and support to change lifestyle behaviors. Similar to Cronote’s reminder system, the text messages were not interactive; that is, the patients could not respond.

At 6 months, patients in the intervention group had significantly lower levels of LDL-C (bad cholesterol) than those in the control group. Patients in the intervention group also had lower systolic blood pressure, increased physician activity, and reduced smoking.

This study suggests that text messages may have an added benefit to lifestyle changes.

At Cronote, we are motivated by scientific publications like these and encourage you to share with us how you are using Cronote. We hope that this article inspires you to think of ways you can use text message reminders to improve wellness and health for yourself, your family, and your friends.

Read the full JAMA article here.

How to Surprise Your Valentine Using Text Messages

Thinking of a special way to surprise your Valentine? Scheduled text messages is a simple, personal (and wallet-friendly) way to let your loved one know that you care. Send him or her notes throughout the day, and make it a Valentine’s Day they’ll never forget.

Cronote is a website that lets you to schedule text messages to be delivered at a specified time in the future. There are 3 easy steps:

  1. Select the recipient. (Enter your Valentine’s cell phone number or email address.)
  2. Write your message. (Suggestions: “Your smile makes my heart melt!” or “Can’t wait to see you tonight!”)
  3. Set the delivery time. (February 14, at various times throughout the day.)

If you’re feeling extra creative, you can integrate Cronote into a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt. Hide gifts for your loved one. Then, schedule text messages to arrive at special moments throughout the day, telling him/her where to look. Watch as your Valentine lights up in surprise and delight each time a new message comes to their phone. He/She may look even more surprised if you are sitting right there and are no where near your phone!

Since Cronote messages are scheduled in advance, this will take some of the stress out of the day. Your Valentine will also feel special knowing that you planned ahead for this memorable day.

The Cronote Reminders website is free for sign-up. The first 10 reminders are completely free. If you need more, you can upgrade your account to “Pro” using our month-to-month subscription plan.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day! Please feel free to share any stories on how Cronote made your holiday even more special.

Happy New Year from Cronote!

[Update 7/27/16: The Cronote Reminders iPhone app and Cronote Remind Button are no longer available, as a part of the rebuild plan.]

We’d like to take a moment to thank Cronote users for a very special year. 2012 has certainly been a memorable one for us:

Thank you for using our website and/or app! We wish you a wonderful New Year, and hope 2013 brings good fortune to all of you.

Best Regards,
Ann & Aaron

Schedule Recurring Reminders

The highly anticipated “recurring reminders” feature has been added to the Cronote website. Users can now set up daily reminders with one click. The reminder will automatically be sent out at the same time, every day until the user opts to halt the reminders. Previously, daily reminders could only be achieved by individually scheduling a reminder for each given day. Recurring reminders work well for remembering medication schedules, chores, and sports practices.

Cronote reminders are scheduled through three easy steps:

  1. Select the recipient(s)
  2. Write the message
  3. Set the delivery time

Choose the repeat “Daily” box to schedule daily reminders. The same message will be sent out at the set delivery time, starting from the first date. Cronote reminders can be sent via text message or email. All reminders can be managed and tracked on the Cronote website.

The full press release can be found here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/7/prweb9748397.htm

Please let us know if you have any other suggestions or requests.

Heat Illness Prevention

Cronote reminders can be used toward Heat Illness Prevention.

According to the California Code of Regulations, when the temperature meets or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must remind their employees throughout the workshift to drink plenty of water. The excerpt from Title 8, section 3395 Heat Illness Prevention is as follows:

(e) High-heat procedures. The employer shall implement high-heat procedures when the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit. These procedures shall include the following to the extent practicable:

(1) Ensuring that effective communication by voice, observation, or electronic means is maintained so that employees at the work site can contact a supervisor when necessary. An electronic device, such as a cell phone or text messaging device, may be used for this purpose only if reception in the area is reliable.

(2) Observing employees for alertness and signs or symptoms of heat illness.

(3) Reminding employees throughout the work shift to drink plenty of water.

(4) Close supervision of a new employee by a supervisor or designee for the first 14 days of the employee’s employment by the employer, unless the employee indicates at the time of hire that he or she has been doing similar outdoor work for at least 10 of the past 30 days for 4 or more hours per day.

Source: http://www.dir.ca.gov/Title8/3395.html

The Cronote platform provides a cost-effective mechanism for scheduling text message reminders for large groups. The reminders can contain any message, in any language (i.e. “Remember to drink water”). Each text message costs $0.05 and pre-scheduled to be sent out at a specific time in the future. Over the next two weeks, we are building recurring reminders to increase ease of use in scheduling daily reminders for prolonged periods.

For more information on Heat Illness Prevention, visit the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) website. The 2012 Heat Illness Prevention Training Materials are also posted on the website.