When using mobile technology for outreach to potential and active study subjects, “The important thing to remember about text messaging is that, even though it’s a one-to-many [method for study staff], it’s really one-to-one communication” as far as the participant is concerned, says Noel Chandler, CEO of Mosio.
In a presentation today on “Mobile Technologies in Patient Engagement and Retention” at the ACRP 2016 Meeting & Expo in Atlanta, Ga., Chandler noted that 25% of Americans now access the Internet by phone exclusively, and that 90% of text messages are opened and read within three minutes, whereas only 22% of e-mail messages are ever read.
Clinical trial recruiters are turning to text messaging in particular for its utility in sharing alerts about new study opportunities to recruit and possibly pre-screen volunteer patients, send appointment/visit reminders, deliver motivational messages and incentives, provide patient newsletters, urge medication adherence/compliance, and more.
Among other details about how text messaging can be applied to clinical research, Chandler offered the following best practices and considerations:
- Stay professional (U don’t need 2 use txt speak rather than normal language, be clear with calls to action)
- Work with your vendor before you submit text messaging plans to your institutional review board
- Define the workflow processes and user experiences associated with your use of text messaging, for instance to see how it fits into your existing recruitment and retention strategies
- Decide what works best for your site’s particular communication challenges, and whether text messages are truly the right fix
- Start with just one, most-desired text messaging feature, pilot its use to learn the process and costs, and make sure your vendor has a suite of features so that you can add to your outreach capabilities as you grow.