Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT) and the UCLA School of Public Health today announced the expansion of its health literacy social media program, T2X. The program was previously limited to its study testing phase, but access to the program now is available to all cyber-savvy teens nationwide.
T2X screenshot (Photo: Business Wire)
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The T2X project was created as a result of a partnership between Health Net, UCLA School of Public Health and EPG Technologies. It was funded by a $1.1 million NIH research grant that tested whether a cutting-edge intervention using an online social network would increase low-income teens’ capacity to access and use their insurance, become more engaged in their health care and health behavior decisions, and develop pro-health attitudes.
“We believe that this innovative approach has helped create best practices for encouraging all teens to become knowledgeable health care consumers,” said Nancy Wongvipat Kalev, Health Net’s director of Health Education and Cultural and Linguistic Services, and one of the study’s collaborators. “The study’s findings are currently being evaluated and the highly anticipated results are expected mid-2012. If this intervention is indeed successful in allowing teens to become more engaged in their health care and health decisions, we could validate the use of social networking sites for the rest of our population and open doors to exploring other innovative technology-based approaches to promoting healthy behaviors in the future.”
The T2X website offers a teen-only community of users, with teen and professionally produced content, competitions, games, quizzes, blogs, video sharing and other interactive and participatory communication methods. The site covers lifestyle issues for teens – nutrition, fitness, stress management, substance abuse and sexual behavior – to help them live life to the fullest and accomplish their goals.
On the T2X website, teens have access to:
- Chat online with health experts 24/7 and ask questions about sensitive health topics that they may not be comfortable discussing with their physician
- Learn how to access health services at the right level of care
- Intelligent SMS campaign that allows teens to text keywords to a designated number and receive customized content back to their mobile devices
- Participate in health-oriented social networking through blogs, videos and other transmedia tools
- Nurse Advice Line to obtain health care information from a registered nurse 24/7 (available to Health Net members only)
The transmedia component of T2X is extremely unique as the project is the first of its kind to explore the effectiveness of this intervention. “Transmedia” is telling different parts of a story using different types of media, which provides opportunities for participants to get deeper into the story, topic and characters, eventually putting the story together into a coherent whole.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to engage the T2X community through transmedia storytelling to make issues related to health care literacy more relevant and engaging for teens as they transition into adulthood,” said Deborah Glik, professor for the UCLA School of Public Health and another one of the study’s collaborators.
The ongoing project has already garnered recognition in prominent publications. T2X was recently highlighted as a best practice in patient engagement in National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) publication entitled “NCQA Quality Profiles™: The Leadership Series--Focus on Patient Engagement” and also in America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)’s Innovations in Health Literacy publication entitled “Health Literacy and America’s Health Insurance Plans: Laying the Foundation and Beyond.” The Health Net-UCLA project team also has presented at several prestigious conferences such as the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media, the American Public Health Association Conference, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media.
About Health Net
Health Net of California, a subsidiary of Health Net Inc., is one of the largest health plans in the state. Together with Health Net Life Insurance Company, it serves more than 2.2 million members statewide and contracts with more than 56,000 physicians, 300-plus hospitals and nearly 5,000 pharmacies, giving its members greater choice and more convenient access to care. Its commercial HMO and POS, Medicare, and Medicaid lines of business have received “Excellent” accreditation status from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit Health Net’s website at www.healthnet.com.
About The UCLA School of Public Health
The UCLA School of Public Health is dedicated to enhancing the public’s health by conducting innovative research; training future leaders and health professionals; translating research into policy and practice; and serving local, national and international communities. For more information, visit www.ph.ucla.edu.
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