A recently published study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research explored the feasibility of using text messaging as a data collection tool to monitor an infant feeding intervention program in rural China. The text messaging method had reasonable data agreement and low cost, but a low response rate.
An effective data collection method is crucial for high quality monitoring of health interventions. The traditional face-to-face data collection method is labour intensive, expensive, and time consuming. With the rapid increase of mobile phone subscribers, text messaging has the potential to be used for evaluation of population health interventions in rural China. Further research is needed to evaluate effectiveness of measures that can increase the response rate, especially in collecting longitudinal data by text messaging.