Text messaging and a Web-based clinician dashboard are helping patients and health-care providers stay better connected in Clackamas County, Ore.

The technology is a part of mHealth — Mobile Health — a program that unites health-care providers with county residents who are managing diabetes or other chronic conditions. Participants receive mobile phones and are sent daily text messages, including appointment and medication reminders and health tips.

"We are always looking for new ways to improve the health of our community," said Cindy Becker, director of Clackamas County Health, Housing, and Human Services (H3S), in a statement. "Projects like mHealth are an example of how we can use new technologies and creative thinking to help people make better choices, manage their own health and improve their lives."

The phones and the infrastructure supporting the initiative are provided by GenerationOne, a mobile health-care technology company. The platform resides on a secure server and messages to patients are individually customizable.

County health-care providers can track a participant’s health changes and behavior through a Web-based clinician dashboard. If a patient’s text response shows a health issue needs attention, or if the person was unable to make a scheduled appointment, a health-care professional receives an email alert. H3S also partnered with Portland State University, to support research design and program evaluation.

The mHealth initiative received a “Model Practice Program’ award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials in February. The award honors local and regional health practices throughout the U.S. that promote innovation among local health departments.

According to a press release, Clackamas County is considering expanding the mHealth program to include other chronic illnesses and support programs in its primary care and behavioral health clinics.