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March 14, 2013 | Europe Eurasia: Romania

Tech Reminding Athletes to See their Dentist

By Karl Hejlik

With all the excitement of Games, athletes often forget advice received at Healthy Athletes once they return home. That’s why, with the help of Health One Global, Special Olympics is piloting a system to send automated text messages to athletes’ cell phones reminding them to get the medical help they need. One such pilot program took place this winter in Romania (one of fourteen programs designated as a Special Olympics Healthy Community) with remarkable success. At 8 and 12 weeks following a Special Smiles event, athletes referred for dental follow-up care received texts as reminders. Two results stand out. Nearly all the athletes (94.4%) responded, indicating that texting is a very effective way to communicate with athletes. And most importantly, of the athletes who had not received care at 8 weeks, 21.7% made an appointment after being reminded. By changing athletes’ behavior months after being screened, texting has enormous potential for improving the health status of athletes

About Karl Hejlik: I am the Senior Manager of Healthy Athletes Communications.

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