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Government Agencies Join Forces to Develop Apps From Text Message Database

April 17, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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As part of the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) digital services strategy, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and are joining forces in an attempt to leverage two key assets recently made available to the public.

The Apps4TotsHealth Challenge is a call for developers, researchers, and other innovators to make use of the data API and integrate the TXT4Tots message library into a new or existing platform.

TXT4Tots is a library of short, evidence-based messages focused on nutrition and physical activity. The library is targeted to parents and caregivers of children, ages 1-5 years, and is available in English and Spanish. Content for the messages was derived from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children and Adolescents, which uses a developmentally based approach to address children’s health needs in the context of family and community. is the Department’s open data catalog, housing metadata records on close to 400 HHS datasets. Recently, has enabled a publicly-accessible data application programming interface (API) that allows programmatic access to the TXT4Tots message library.

HHS is offering a total of $25,000 in prizes, including:

  • $17,500 for first place;
  • $5,000 for second place; and
  • $2,500 for third place.

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