A Description of Educational Message Services and Our Commitment to Public Health
PreventionPays™ is a division of Educational Message Services, Inc. (EMS). EMS has over 15 years of experience developing social marketing programs, using cutting-edge, multi-media tools and techniques, for priority populations throughout the Nation. While EMS is a wholly owned, for-profit agency, a majority of its work to date, is in public health, developing evidence-based strategies for state and national health agencies including: Santa Barbara County and Ventura County Health Departments, American Legacy, CDC, STEPS, Nevada Public Health, First 5 California, Oregon Health Dept and New Jersey Health and Senior Services. Over the previous three years, work has evolved from print-rich marketing tools to video production (award-winning multi-media DVDs focusing on smoking cessation, HIV prevention, and Easy Steps to Oral Health™, for families with children 0-6 years) to primarily web-based strategies, including PreventionPays™ Computer-Assisted Narrowcast Systems (education and assessments in health and education venues) and PreventionPays SMS Narrowcast Networks (Text Message Service Delivery Resources). The EMS team is uniquely skilled at improving communication strategies and cultivating creative alliances to improve prevention service delivery.
EMS's primary aim is to increase the number of PreventionPays™ Narrowcast systems in private and public health sites, including primary care, Ob/Gyn offices, and women's health clinics nationwide. PreventionPays™ education and screening tools focus on issues that deal with sensitive subject matter. When risk is identified, the screening results act as a catalyst for provider/patient dialogue that would otherwise not occur, unless solicited by the doctor or presented by the patient. Research indicates that using computers to screen patients on sensitive subject matter is more effective than face-to-face interviews. In addition to saving staff time and resources, patients tend to be more forthright about personal health matters when responding to a computer.
The healthcare industry is undergoing a paradigm shift in how preventive services are being utilized and reimbursed; the culmination of new laws mandating screening in conjunction with the development of new CPT and Medicare billing codes, have made this a crucial and compelling time to be associated with prevention service delivery.
PrevetionPays™ SMS, recently acknowledged by Nevada State health department as, "promising and innovative," is being considered for uses in other areas of prevention, i.e. mental health, chemical dependency, appointment compliance, and behavior modification tracking. The web-based utility delivers smoking cessation material to LGBT populations in Las Vegas, and more recently, manages appointment compliance through the PreventionPays™ screening system. Nevada Mental Health department has written the SMS utility into a youth mental health and suicide prevention grant through SAMHSA. Under the Youth Suicide Prevention Taskforce, EMS will train state hotline counselors to manage the text message interface, in the same way they respond to incoming crisis calls. They will use tablet PCs that have wireless Internet capabilities, making them highly mobile and, therefore, more reliable than stagnant PC workstations.
SMS is preferred over other forms of communication and, similar to computer screening, research indicates that "individuals demonstrate a willingness to reveal sensitive, sometimes difficult components of their thoughts, behaviors, and values through electronic means at far greater rates than if they had to articulate them to someone ." *
EMS is also working with UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County Health department in the areas of environmental prevention. ACT California has attracted interest from other institutions including University of Florida, Cal Poly San Louis Obispo, and UC Berkeley. The program consists of an online resident host training course, sustainable through property manager support and utilization of the website and a computer-assisted SBIRT, where students visiting the health center for an unrelated illness, are being screened for alcohol issues using a PC tablet computer. The Health Department and UCSB are planning to expand the SBIRT work to include doctors and hospitals throughout the campus community. Unlike other SBIRT programs that require a grant or other funding sources, bundling health screens may be the key to a sustainable, SBIRT program.
EMS continues to develop high quality, technologically innovative programs that provide culturally and linguistically sensitive messages and tools to a wide spectrum of populations in areas of health and education.
* Bryant, J. A., Sanders-Jackson, A., & Smallwood, A. M. K. (2006). IMing, text messaging, and adolescent social networks.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11 (2), article 10