Would People Pay for Text Messaging Health Reminders?
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The aim of this study is to determine the time and financial limitations that people would accept for using a telehealth service consisting of wireless text messaging reminders to improve adherence to a recommended healthy regimen. An empirical study based on a 1-month trial of a prototype system that studied adherence to a specified healthy behaviour was conducted. Fifty-one participants received daily cell phone text messaging reminders on taking one vitamin C pill daily for preventive reasons. At the end of the trial they answered a survey regarding their willingness to pay for and to stay with such a service, if offered. If usage were free, only 45% of the participants would continue to use it for a long indefinite period of time. If the usage were for a fee, 29% of the participants would use the service just a few weeks; 28% would use it an indefinite period of time if they could see its usefulness and if the cost were reasonable. The median amount indicated by the participants as a reasonable monthly fee for such a service was $5. Although the study did not evaluate perceived usefulness to use the telehealth service explicitly, a benefit perception proved to condition participant willingness to use the service and to pay for it, if necessary. If people perceive usefulness, they want to use the service, even for a fee. A free service would not be used if it is not perceived as beneficial.
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