Professor Monika Janda is a Principal Research Fellow, and leads the Health Determinants and Health Systems Theme at The Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She is a health psychologist with a research background in cancer prevention and quality of life research. She was a research fellow for the Melanoma Screening trial with the Cancer Council Queensland before joining QUT in 2006. She has two main research interests i) prevention and early detection of cancer (in particular melanoma); and ii) improving clinical and supportive care for cancer patients (in particular gynaecological cancers). During the past 5 years, she has a strong research focus on improving the prevention and early detection of melanoma using telehealth methods such as mobile teledermoscopy and enhanced skin self-examination.
Questions and Answers
The beauty of the Healthy Text intervention program is that it really will improve with increased adaptation to the target audience. In fact, this text-message delivered intervention program is designed to be adapted towards your target audience and the more resources you have to invest in that adaptation the better. We used the program with young adults, but if you are aware of a special target group that you think could benefit from the intervention you could adapt it. For example you may target mothers of young children who are role models for good sun protection in children, but often do not wear sun protection when they pick up their children from school. Or you may target fathers, who help on the football field often without a hat or sunshirt.
The intervention is not suitable for people who do not own a mobile phone with texting function, or people who may incur costs if they receive text messages from you, so you would need to screen for such factors.
We were very pleasantly surprised that our participants really enjoyed the program. We only sent messages infrequently (once a week for the first 12 weeks, then once a months for the next 9 months) as we did not want participants to feel overburdened, but they told us that a somewhat greater frequency was preferred. It is important that you ask a number of key questions at baseline so that you understand your target audience’s sun protection behaviors really well, and can target the messages to reflect the usual situations in which sunburn occur or that can assist participants to build healthy habits in becoming more sun aware. Challenges may occur if people were subscribed to multiple services at a time and messages may cross each other or be conflicting.