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Health Mobile App Wins Innovation Award

Department of Health and Human Services honored Text4baby messaging service, which has more than 64,000 subscribers.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has granted an innovation award to a mobile application that provides health information for expecting mothers.

Text4baby, which sends weekly health information to pregnant women, is one of three recipients of the department's HHSInnovates award, according to a White House blog post by Hillary Chen, a policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

A private-public partnership driven by federal CTO Aneesh Chopra developed Text4baby, which went live in February. The application has more than 64,000 subscribers, who receive free text messages providing pregnancy-health advice every week. More than 3.5 million messages have been sent since the service went live.

Women can sign up for the service by texting "BABY" for messages in English or "BEBE" for messages in Spanish to 511411.

The department honored members of the team -- including federal employees and private-sector individuals -- that developed the application in an awards ceremony last week.

Among those honored for Text4baby were HHS employees Sabrina Matoff-Stepp of the Health Resources and Services Administration; Juliette Kendrick, Yvonne Green, and Paul Stange of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Valerie Scardino from the Office of Public Health and Science.

Other individuals awarded were Judy Meehan from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and Paul Meyer from Voxiva, a mobile applications provider that helped build the application.

Not only has the application provided health advice to expectant mothers, it also has brought together a network of more than 300 partners -- including national, state, business, academic, non-profit, and other groups -- to promote the service, according to the post.

HHSInnovates award is an integral part of the department's Open Government Plan to use contemporary technology to engage more actively with U.S. citizens, according to the post.

The competition -- run twice a year -- is aimed at identifying and promoting innovations that improve the services HHS provides, as well as those that boost the department's transparency and public engagement, according to a June blog post by HHS chief technology officer Todd Park, which introduced the award.

HHSInnovates winners are also noticed for fostering and collaboration across the department as well as with people outside of it, according to Park's post.